IMAGE & POEM (NOVEMBER 2011)

About Autumn In Cannes

This month's poem, Autumn in Cannes, is inspired by the beautiful image of Marie-France called " Palmes d'Octobre à Cannes ".

Like the woman relaxing in the scene, the speaker is comfortable on her terrace thinking about the view and the bird on her  balcony. She remarks how the small creature supports himself on one foot while keeping the other one suspended. This amuses her and she looks at her own feet. Her toe nails are polished with a bold and flaming color like the sun and fragrant hibiscus in the garden. Her eyes also glimpse an abandoned sandal near the ferns. She speculates some young woman  has left it there. The strap is torn and becomes symbolic of a pause in someone's life path and purpose. Perhaps, this shoe was left by a female who wants to shed her past career and follow another ambition like that of a film star or fashion model. Again, the speaker is amusing herself with different possibilities. But then, the poem takes a more contemplative turn. The vacationing artist realizes something very essential about her own life, identity and choice.

At one time, she recollects The famous House of Design, that of Christian Dior, had offered her the opportunity to design clothing under his brand name. She would be following a trend and growing as an artist under a commercial shadow. Her creative freedom would be compromised. This was a turning point in her life, a time when she had to weigh  personal dreams with that of job security and famous connections. Like the seagull who balances himself on one leg while testing the air with the other, she came to the edge and stood indecisive, carefully considering her options. Though flattered  "by that glamorous pull of the moon", and tempted to follow its grand offer, she was also lured by the independent fire, the strong-minded light of the sun.  And in the end, for the sake of her  free spirit and expressive art, she choose "to strike her heel against the sun" and ignite its audacious flame. As described in the middle lines of this poem, she still paints her nails with that verve, that intensity of passion.


© 2011, Wendy Howe. E-mail.