IMAGE & POEM (AUGUST 2008)

About Outing

"Outing" is a poem , based on Marie-France's beautiful painting, "Été en enfance", which explores the theme of excursion and the emotional bonds between parent and child. The opening scene frames a mother and her son in a field of poppies. The speaker comments how their escape into the countryside makes them the center of their own universe, one filled with love and carefree pleasure.

Yet, the mother is aware of the land's history. She reflects on the past and other women who have come there. Namely, Camille Monet and her young son, Jean. She senses the purpose of that 19th Century walk.

The wife of the impressionist was staging a scene for her husband. He wanted to paint the subjects of a day's outing, a study en plein air, a work day for all those involved in accomplishing his goal.

Thus, the modern parent understands the difference in time and tradition. Yet, she feels the painter's wife still longed for the freedom to enjoy the day and adore her son without being on display or fitting into the visionary scheme of an intense but brillant artist like Claude Monet.

© 2011, Wendy Howe. E-mail.