Monday, March 29, 2010

One November

empty, 2010

I did not like Paris,
my dreams had spiraled for too long.
They had grown grand and incomplete,
like La Sagrada Família.

Bayonne and Biarritz,
they were more to my liking.
Empty and cold.
Rats in restaurants.
Phone booths and rain.

And the trees of Saint-Jean-de-Luz
their limbs made me sad.

I was still a spy.
He, a gambler.
Our books were so heavy,
we gave up our clothes.

I bought a cream puff
and carried it for miles,
secure in its small white box.

Wanting it desperately,
till I could wait no more.


  1. Beautiful and melancholic. Was the cream puff worth the long wait?

  2. i didn't like paris either. it was march, it was chilly and gray and the city felt impersonal following on the heels of a trip to smaller seville with its sunny palm trees. i want to give paris another try someday.

  3. i see we both have Paris on our minds...
    With the idyll comes also the spleen. soon after. or soon before. depends. can't have one w/out the other...

  4. oh no..i'm sorry you didn't enjoy paris

  5. you just broke my heart. I love paris. not because it was sooo great, but because I never forget the favors of strangers.

    When I was 19 and went, by myself, to visit a friend in the south of France I traveled through Paris on my way home. Over the 4 days I was there I saw the sights, ate ok food and got on the Metro to head to the airport and back home... when something went wrong.
    whatever it was was announced in French, and most of the people just got off the train and looked at me with disdain as I wandered around totally confused. Some man in his 60's grabbed my arm. "Do you know what is going on?"
    him: "there may be a bomb on the train." (this sort of thing was common at the time)
    me: "how long will it be?"
    him:"wrong question. How long do you have?"

    I foolishly handed him my ticket and he laughed, grabbed my hand, took me up escalators to the street and threw me in a cab. (when I say threw, I mean that in a really nice way) He gave the driver lots more money than needed and ordered him to rush to the airport. I made my flight, right on time.

    Every time I am in the international terminal at the airport, I eavesdrop on strangers, hoping I can return the enormous favor, but so far no such luck.

  6. I lived in Paris, but I don't remember if I liked it. We had escaped from communist Czech Republic and I remember those days in black and white for some reason....maybe because all the photos my dad took of that time were in black and white.

  7. Lovely poem - I too loved Biarritz. I visited in winter and recall walking along the deserted beach, it was wildly windy and starting to rain and it was so so beautiful! Hope you're having a lovely start to the week!

  8. I like your words.

    I understand how Paris can seem hostile.
    And I love the west coast as well!
    I spent lovely holidays in Ciboure a little village near to Saint Jean de luz.
    I love how the sea is wild there and the colorful and joyful houses.

  9. Never been there so I cannot leave an opinion. Interesting to note your thoughts. Thanks for being honest.

  10. What a beautiful poem Denise. I'm sad you didn't love Paris. After London, it's the place I feel most at home. But like you I love Biarritz. I'm spending June in France (a little bit in Paris, a lot in the South West). I only hope I can pull from the experience words half as beautiful as the ones you've shared with us here.

  11. Hello,

    I've just discovered your blog via Orangette and absolutely love it. Your photos and writing are amazing and I'm so happy to have found you because I read an awful lot of blogs but not so many really speak to my heart.

    I used to love Paris so much and felt it was a part of who I was but returning there this January, I felt crushed with disappointment as I struggled to find the charm and poetry which had so enchanted me 10 years ago. It's beautiful but somehow didn't stir up any emotions in me. I hope to return there with happier impressions one day.

    Greetings from Berlin,


  12. ...please tell me the cream puff, was enjoyed.
    : )

  13. was blog hopping and landed in your fun world!

    love your sweet poem. love cream puffs!

    i'm hosting a giveaway i think you might like--

  14. Hello All, Thank you for reading and commenting. In response, I'd like to share a couple thoughts. First of all, I want you all to know that this poem is much more about the poet than about Paris. It is simply about one brief November trip to France, quite a while back, during a somewhat sad time in my life. Still, the journey holds a very special place in my heart. For me, sad can still be beautiful. I look forward to returning to France one day and creating new memories. Second (an incredibly important bit), that little cream puff was so worth the wait. I absolutely loved my delicious cream filled puff and I've yet to try another that comes even close in comparison.

  15. Mmm crumbs on a pretty plate...
    I loved this poem - the melancholy, the mystery... and the cream puff! Yes!

  16. I have been to Paris three times and never liked it. Sometimes I think that makes me a bad foodie.

  17. I like the sound of dreams that "had grown grand and incomplete". All is so beautifully put.

  18. everyone loves paris, so it's nice to read an alternative view :)

    a spy, huh?

  19. I love that last line - the satisfaction. I can taste it still.

    We went to Paris in December for our honeymoon. It was wet and cold, and we shared meals with very big, very wet Saint Bernards who barely fit underneath small tables at sushi restaurants - their French owners smoking their Galois, unfazed.

    I got pink eye for New Year's. We got lost in beautiful Montmartre and stopped at cafes just because we were on vacation and it was cold out. And we were on vacation. I ate more pastries than humanly possible.

    I refused to stand in the interminable line to go into the Louvre, but found instead the Picasso Museum quite by accident and loved it. A happy accident.

    I loved it all, in fact. Despite the rain and the cold and smelly wet dogs and pink eye. It's a little bit of a melancholy city in the frigid rain, but still so beautiful. It suited me then. We'll have to go again and see how it suits me a second time around.

    I wish I could write a poem about it, though.


  20. Paris can be cold and hostile and not welcoming... but Paris can be easy, funky and warm...
    I'll try to think about it...

  21. "our books were so heavy" that bit :)

    xo Alison

  22. Maria, I think you should write that poem.

  23. Love this poem..choice of words is so perfect..I felt every emotion.