Wondering while Wandering…
…an artist’s limp toward finding ‘Radiance Through the Rain’
‘May the Rain of Suffering Soften Our Hearts,
Seeping Radiance to Our Thirsty Places.’
J. Douglas Thompson© 2022
Gratitude… Memorial to Paris*
The artist comes
Hair-breadths advance of dawning’s light
Laid back saunter, goatee then
Long held desire, finally born
Seine’s left bank, awash in gilded morning’s light
Misty drizzle worked the night shift
Fades and heads for bed
Cobalt, yellow just arrived, punching in right on time.
Reflecting pools, splashing feet
Steam swirls up
Gossamer ballerinas off cobblestone
Breezes waft, scent of fresh croissant
Baked warm honey bronze, butter drips
Cafetière à piston forces drive, pressing down, toward French roast
Caffeine dark with fresh release
Grounded whiffs from Latin climes
Mornings bliss, again arrives
City of arts.
I stop, inhale, turn, then sniff
Purveyors amble near, from far
Leather classics bound, inlaid on canopied carts.
Floral constellations flash and blaze
Created brilliance radiates
Redemptive tear, it falls
Intricate, so eloquent
With great design it calls
Ignored by most
Day shouts to day, see wisdom here, and
Night by night shows knowledge deep, then
Florals curl and head to sleep.
Young love glides by
Their hands entwined
Others rowing on the Seine
Dripping drops like gilded stones
Circles of concentric float
Vanish into currents deep.
Piaf croons low
Old love she sighs
Long long since lost
Stumbling, shuffling sadness comes
Fiercely grasping warm baguette
Gauloises haze surrounds beret
Circling blue in upward draft
Gently turns and softly says
Seasons, ‘mon jeune homme,’ don’t lightly take
C’est la vie, but then again, it’s very short
So live them well
Each and every day
Notre Dame, her bells ring wake
Human’s day begins to stir
Chorus wafts cross abstract swells
Grandest organ growls bonjour
Sorbonne’s youth, French chic, blow in
Quickly stand and kisses give
Café au lait, a cigarette
Philosophize, then au revoir
To, live let live.
The artist wanders west then north
Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées
Boulevard amour, at times
Concentric circles instead enshrine
Blowing mad cacophony
Passing fast, without a glance
Architectures high climax
They race, and miss, just feet away
Auguste Rodin his
‘Thinker’ waits, a quiet garden just aside
Bronze patinas smooth, amaze
Song of Solomon, carved in white
The Kiss, its deep embrace in marbles grace
Others dear, are worth a year, a month per chance
Time to give them but a glance.
The Louvre, she calls
It’s not too late
Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Suerat
Mona, Venus, and Versailles
Even Eiffel, don’t be shy
Across the ville toward Montmartre
To catch a glance of Sacré-Coeur
And peek as artists paint
Wet oil moments of fleeting dreams
Gone so far, gone too fast.
Mais Oui, a lingering lunch of French paté, a Bordeaux dry with warmth of bread, and then…too soon, Ah Paris, I leave you love, yes, once again.
You stole and guard my painter’s soul
Yes there remains the broken piece
That left a longing ache too long.
Yet in mind’s eye, lives on so strong.
In early years, months of days were given to live within her strong French embrace, and then through decades long, I’ve circled back to come again, each time my heart rekindled with the spirit of true living free – a dance outside the lines – how rich and blessed I’ve been.
Desires wandering heart He gives
Again affords, a nonstop flow
Never once to be out done!
It’s impossible, you know!
I’m thankful, stirred through the rich sauce of nostalgias reminiscence, and yet somewhat thoughtful too, how oft in life I’ve buzz-sawed my mornings, leaving my mouth caked sawdust dry and spurned my months with only skin-deep encounter.
Depth demands circling back, hovering above, chewing well, swirling around and over, time after time, whether toward the sensual or spiritual. Art and spiritual disciplines have this common golden thread to know them well.
Time, silence, solitude, reflection, rest, repentance, practice, patience, repetitiveness and yes, surrender – all requirements of growth toward depth.
If I am to know intimately the one who calls me son, friend, brother and whom I gratefully call Abba or Aslan, the one who names me new, passionately and personally – the artist above all – (his claim, not mine) – I must go and sit in the garden, yes, alongside ‘The Thinker,’ not leaving my brain at the door.
This, a rational passionate journey in mystical relationship – not pie in the sky, by and by. If otherwise, like the man from Damascus, most miserable, deceived and devoid of hope, I might just as well take the ultimate step off the proverbial cliff and leap into cosmic darkness.
If one seeks with the cup of one’s heart full and splashing over, or dry, cracked as dust, you will find, the call floats out, a promise proffered. Then He waits, asking, toasting, slow the pace, ponder, sip, swirl, drink long and deep – come weary one – rest awaits – thirst satiated.
What if His claims are really true?
Would it affect my vision of beauty and wonder?
Would I, should I, could I
Inhale with fuller anticipation
Taste and chew with greater intensity
Roll the velvet wine much longer
View with fuller wonder
Listen with greater clarity
Touch with softer tenderness
Wait with greater patience
Give with greater playfulness
Love with deeper sacrifice?
Worth a wonder and a wander, a look to see
Sure beats watchin’ bad TV
Provides a touch of hope in me!
And now to you, old friend Paris
Bonsoir – again – my – mon ami!
*Excerpt from ‘Radiance Through the Rain’