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

Market stirs

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

Impressions wait

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.

Au revoir.

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?

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’


Paris in the Rain