All posts tagged: France

Magnolia | edge of evening

Pause

Poetry makes language care because it renders everything intimate. This intimacy is the result of the poem’s labor, the result of the bringing-together-into-intimacy of every act and noun and event and perspective to which the poem refers. There is often nothing more substantial to place against the cruelty and indifference of the world than this caring. And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos by John Berger We’re at B’s parents’ house in France, on Easter break, on pause. Our Easters here are usually a taste of summer — often, juxtaposed against winter, more perfect than summer itself. But this year, with its early-Easter, its non-winter winter, it’s rained most of the time we’ve been here. Different weather, different rhythms; but still: reading, resting, thinking about what comes next. It’s been a year since we were here. They’ve all grown so much. On the days when the boys have been able to play outside, it’s been as though the future is now and B & I can both sit and read/play guitar. Then, on days when we’re all …

There was the light

Home, which brings its own strange dislocation. A seeing which is impossible in the rush and familiarity of the everyday. I notice all that we have started and not finished: the unpainted wall in our bedroom, the bare light bulb at the end of the kitchen, the half-read books piled on the shelf. The season too has shifted: the rhythms of our summer — all those hours in the garden — no longer fit the weather or the length of the day. The evening air feels autumnal, dusk falls early. We shop for school shoes. But, there was the light. The light at the coast and the light at B’s parents’ which holds you in its embrace — a fly in amber. Liquid, dripping light. Light into which to dive. My notebook is full of questions, plans. How to carry the energy of this holiday, the bliss of its togetherness, its ease, its possibility? How to work towards this being more what we have? How to hold to all that I have promised myself? I …

Happiness is at the farm

We’ve been camping. Camping in Brittany. Camping, to be precise, in Finistère: the end of the world. We stayed on a beautiful dairy farm, with goats, pigs, donkeys, rabbits and geese, as well as the cows and their calves. It was pretty magical. But also pretty cold and wet. I now finally understand those tactful comments people made when I told them where we were going. My lovely neighbour who told me of her many trips camping in France, her many trips to Brittany, but never, as far as she could remember, camping in Brittany. Later, B told me that she’d said to him that they’d bought a caravan in the end after getting washed-out one summer. Still, the enormous tent we bought second-hand on eBay in December (a cheap time to buy a tent!) but hadn’t had time to put up, did have all its parts, and was wonderfully waterproof. And it only took us an hour and three-quarters to put up in the pouring rain, and, well, about five hours to pack it …

As if we’d choose even the grief

To love as if we’d choose even the grief. from ‘Fontanelles’ in Skin Divers by Anne Michaels We spent Easter in France. Each morning I sat and read in an armchair in the bedroom while B slept, and in their room the children slept or woke and started chatting & laughing. The sky stayed clear blue; the sun warmed us through. The light was like honey. If I was a painter, I thought, we’d have to move here. I read Dubliners; I started Dear Life. I read Anne Michael’s poems in bed at night, late after evenings filled with food & wine. The children looked, as they always do at B’s parents’, more lovely to me than ever. Back home, and the daffodils are over, the tulips too. The garden is lush and green. From the kitchen the longer grass hides the patches of earth worn bare by our winter footsteps. There are bluebells. Forget-me-nots spilling onto the grass.  There are pale green leaves on the magnolia and still a few flowers. Black spot on …