Claude Monet, An Impressionist Artist-Poem: Giverny

Inspired by his beautiful garden, Monet used a variety of color in his paintings.
Inspired by his beautiful garden, Monet used a variety of color in his paintings. | Source

The history behind the poem

At the end of my oldest daughter’s last year of college, following her graduation, I took her to Europe where the two of us traversed three countries, spending the majority of our time in France. It was a journey of love-getting reacquainted after years away to school; learning to depend and trust each other in a foreign country; opening our hearts to a deeper love that moved from the ordinary relationship of mother-daughter.

My rational was this: Cara graduated with a teaching degree in elementary education. What better way to teach than to have firsthand knowledge of the places she would be introducing to her students. I let her choose the itinerary with one condition-that I would accompany her on this trip. France was at the top of her list, French being the language she had studied in high school. She was interested in the museums and art work in particular.

While it seemed to always rain in Paris, we were amazed that we were undaunted by the weather and instead forged ahead with our plans no matter what. On this particular day, which happened to be Mother’s Day, she surprised me with a trip to Giverny where I not only received a huge bouquet of daisies-my favorite flower, but a whole garden as well. It was amazing to walk the paths through a rainbow of color knowing that Claude Monet painted there. It was humbling to move through his tiny home knowing the historical and sentimental value. Our experience in Giverny was one that we both cherish. Although we had many adventures, and a few misadventures, Giverny will always be very special.

Giverny is dedicated to Cara. Cara, thanks for the beautiful memories.

You can visit Cardelean’s recount of the incident on her hub: Mom and Monet: A Day at Giverny, which is linked below.





Daisies-my birth flower

A Mother's Day Bouquet in Giverny, France
A Mother's Day Bouquet in Giverny, France | Source

Giverny

No ordinary day-we were tourists-nay, foreigners,

And the world we knew was an ocean away.

We stood under curves of color gazing at gray skies and each other,

Letting our cameras do for us what the mind could not.


“Pardon, Monsieur, how do we get to Monet’s Garden?”

Was the translation broken or was it impossible for this native to

Comprehend that someone could not know how to get to Giverny?

“Moe-nee,” was the nasal response, “you want moe-nee?”


And so the game began, until the final round and

We pressed our faces to the window on a train to Giverny.


No ordinary day-this misty 8th of May…

Colors bounded from the ground in bright, vivid waves of paint.

Two awe-struck dreamers amidst the crowd of Impressionistic rows,

We lost ourselves in shades unknown, too numerous to count.


Standing atop the wooden bridge gazing at Claude’s house,

I watched you smiling; a palette of flowers at your feet,

And, wondered at this dream come true.

From me to you, this trip long planned, the time we spent together…


And, one in turn from you to me, a bouquet of white daisies:

“Happy Mother’s Day,” you smiled. No ordinary day, this.



Denise Handlon

October 27, 2011

All rights reserved. No portion of this original poem may be copied, printed, or reproduced in any way without the written permission of the author.


Notes on the construction of this poem

Like many of the poems I write, this one began as a musing of how special that day in France was. The phrase, ‘it was no ordinary day’ popped into my mind and I asked the question, “why?” As I contemplated what made it extraordinary, images of the experience arose in my mind.

I began to write the words anticipating they would fall into four sentence stanzas. However, at one point I changed it up and put all of the lines together. As I worked with the sentences in that lay out it did not take me long to realize that it was not the right format. But, a more natural one that emerged is the one that is present now-two four line stanzas followed by a two liner.




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Comments 30 comments

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

Beautiful poem, story behind the poem, flowers and mother-daughter relationship. I felt like I was walking in the garden with the two of you.

Voted up across the board except for funny.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Gail-thanks. I've been waiting to post this one, not wanting to put it out there too soon...but, afraid if I waited too long I would become distracted and miss getting it into the contest. Thanks for the vote. Nice to chat with you. :)


carol3san profile image

carol3san 5 years ago from Hollywood Florida

Hi Denise. Another beautiful poem Your pics are beautiful, and your motivation is priceless. I am going to read cardelean's hub soon.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Carol-thanks for reading and do be sure to visit Cara's hub (thanks). Nice to see you jumping into the hubchallenge!


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Hi Denise what a wonderful poem. I used to travel just with my daughter each year, it was our special Mum nad daughter time. So I know how special this trip must have been for you both.

The photos are lovely and your poem is beautiful.

Voted up


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Rosemay-thanks for sharing your experience here. I appreciate your comments. It was a special gift and my younger daughter was also supposed to have that gift, but alas, she ended up getting married as she finished her last yr of college and didn't want to leave hubby for a trip abroad! :( So...we are still awaiting our trip together, LOL Unfortunately-I may be using a walker by then as I am sure she will now wait for my grandkids to grow up!


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago

Hi Denise

Your poem is as beautiful as the blooming flowers that you talk about in the poem itself! You are lucky to share such a great bond with your daughter.

Princesswithapen


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks princesswithapen-yes, to be sure, I feel very blessed with the relationship. Thank you for reading.


raciniwa profile image

raciniwa 5 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

it must have been a great experience for your daughter to have a great mother like you...how i wish i have a mother like you, yet, i won't exchange her for the world...thank you for sharing this awesome Hub Denise...


annmackiemiller profile image

annmackiemiller 5 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

thanks for sharing this story and the poem - I loved it


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

Thank you for this beautiful dedication. I am so honored to be your daughter. You have taught me so much throughout my life and I continue to learn from you.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

I have experienced how limitations of language nudge us into absurd situation. Thanks for sharing your experience of traveling with your daughter.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

Hello Denise, Beautiful poetry. What a wonderful way to share life with your Daughter. Lucky you..Smiles.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Raciniwa-thank you for that lovely compliment. It wasn't always a bed of roses as Cara will tell you. I held the banner of the 'meanest mom on the block' and I wore it proudly, LOL But, I am proud of both my girls. Thanks for reading.

Hi Annie-thanks for your time and comment, you busy lady!

Cara-you make me very proud. I couldn't have hoped to be blessed more with the two wonderful daughters I received. Love you.

Vinaya-oh, the limits of language...isn't that the truth! I could tell more and perhaps that is subject of another hub, LOL Thanks for your comments.

Hi Ruby-thank you...I worked on this little poem and watched it grow on its own, just patiently standing by helping tweak it now and then. As for my journey with my daughter-it's been awesome throughout the XX number of years. I have been blessed!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Oh Denise I am so envious, Giverny is on my list of 'to do'

A beautiful poem and a beautiful gift from your daughter, thank you for sharing and voting up.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Movie Master, I do hope you make it to Giverny. Make it a point to start planning for it TODAY! Thanks for the comments. :)


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, that must have been amazing, I think I read somewhere that Monet used so much splash of color because his eyesight was failing so he thought he was only using a small amount! not sure if that was true or not, but sounds like a wonderful vacation! cheers nell


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Nell, thanks for stopping by. It was a great vacation, quite an experience for both of us. If you have a moment be sure to click on Cara's hub (linked here) and read her version, which was written last May. I'm not sure why I thought of this trip and Giverny in October, but when the memory came to me the poem followed.


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Beautiful story and poem..A trip of a lifetime and a memory your daughter will always cherish..Thank you for sharing,

Sunnie


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Sunnie-this is the same trip that took me to parts of Italy, :) It's your turn next...Thanks for your comments.


femmeflashpoint 5 years ago

Denise,

I've never been a big fan of Monet. However, I really enjoyed the poem!

femme


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks femmeflashpoint for being so honost with your comment! LOL Thanks for reading.


MP50 4 years ago

Nice poem, I enjoyed reading, thank you for the comment on my Hub.

Will write some more Hubs on France U.S.A and many other Countries........soon.

Happy Hubbing 2012.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks MP50--enjoyed reading your encounters with 'passionate' and 'possessive' French chefs, LOL


stessily 4 years ago

Denise, All visitors to Giverny are "awestruck dreamers", as you so beautifully wrote. Somehow Giverny slipped off my to-do list in France, so it is one of my dreams to visit the garden which is a living Impressionist paradise.

Lovely poem with such a sweet raison d'être: "a journey of love."

Kind regards, Stessily


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

What a beautiful goal, Stessily. It is such a privilege to visit the areas of interest in other countries; and to be able to afford this experience. I'm sure you will be one of the 'awestruck dreamers' when you arrive! Thank you for your sweet comments to this very special hub. :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Denise,

What beautiful memories you have of the trip taken with your daughter to Europe upon her graduation. My mother and I got to take many vacation trips together but she never made it to Europe with me. She was actually supposed to go to Germany with me, but fell during her volunteer work at an assistance ministry and ended up needing surgery for a damaged knee. Such a shame! But aside from that, my memories of our trips taken together warm my heart now that she has passed on to the next life. Cherish the times spent with your daughter. I know that you do!

Your poetry is so beautiful. You captured the feelings of that special day with well chosen words. All up votes except funny.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hello Peggy-I sometimes to the right thing...and the trip was one of those moments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience here.

I appreciate your comments about the poetry and am always humbled by the process of creativity when the muse shows up. Many blessings.


nighthag profile image

nighthag 3 years ago from Australia

What a beautiful poem highlighting a wonderful relationship you have with your daughter your both very lucky


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi nighthag-thank you for your lovely comment. I do consider myself very blessed indeed.

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