Parc Guëll – Barcelona Spain

Furniture by Gaudi

“The creation continues incessantly through the media of man.” Antonio Gaudi

Since my other blog is strictly about France, this gives me an opportunity to showcase some of the other places I’ve been. Besides, I have too many photos not to display somewhere. The most difficult part of this is deciding which from hundreds of pictures to include.

This popular park started out as a development project. Eusebi Guëll, Catalan industrialist, aquired a 42 acre plot north of Barcelona. His vision was to turn the area into a residential  village with English styled gardens.

In 1900 Guëll commissioned Antoni Gaudí with the development of the project. With the support from other architects including Josep M. Jujol and his disciple Francesc Berenguer, Gaudí worked on the garden village. By 1914 it had become clear that the project was a commercial failure and Guëll failed to sell even one single property. In 1918, the property was acquired by the city and became a public park.

Gaudi Museum
From 1906 and 1926, Gaudí lived in one of the two houses that were completed. The house, known as the Casa Museu Gaudí, was designed by Francesc Berenguer. Now a museum it displays some of Gaudí’s furniture which includes some from the Casa Batlló and drawings. The park also includes the Casa Trias, which is not open for visitors, and winding roads with paths supported by tree-like columns.

Gaudi Museum

Serpentine Bench or the Gran Placa: A  Circular flight of stairs leads to another famous feature of the park: the Gran Placa Circular. The plaza that was created here was conceived as a market place. The Serpentine Bench, which borders the plaza is the largest bench in the world. Its colorful ceramic tiles with more than 80 columns  snake and curl around the place. From the Gran Placa and the terraced gardens above, you are are granted a spectacular view of the Mediterranean.

Bisous,

Léa

Serpentine Bench and the Gran Placa

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For the rest of her life

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being,

the more joy you can contain.”

~ Khalil Gibran

For the rest of her life

*

The rich soil

A gaping wound

In anticipation

This greedy predator

Hungers for its prey

*

The tiny pine offering

A simple shroud

A sack of earth her pillow

Static voices – rat-a-tat-tat – rat-a-tat-tat

Nothing of comfort here

*

A spring planting

Where only grief

Takes root

Pain is now

My shadow

*

A branch

Frail

Unable to survive

Severed

The tree hollowed

*

What mother leaves

A daughter alone

In the unforgiving earth

Returns to Brooklyn

And fondles tiny white shoes

*

Come winter

I daven

The wound engulfs me

And the child

Who lie in the snow

 

Bisous,

Léa

Fire & Ice

“A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.”

– Mae West

Fire & ice

Winter

It’s cold

Like your touch

And I

Am a creature

Of the heat

I

Delight in the taunting

Massage

Of the sun’s rays

They force me

Into

Complete submission

Fire Its The power

And it burns

Deep inside me

Beware

Your daggers

Of ice

Cannot penetrate me

I will laugh

As you melt

Fire & ice

Cézanne, Art & Poetry

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

When I judge art, I take my painting and put it next to a God made object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art.
Paul Cézanne

Fete de Cézanne

While visiting Aix-en-Provence in 2006, I had the good fortune to arrive at the beginning of fête de Cézanne. Paul Cézanne 1839 – 1906, a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter. His work was instrumental in bridging the transition from 19th century Impressionism and 20th century’s line of enquiry, Cubism.

Born in the town of Aix-en-Provence, he had a fondness for painting Mont Sainte-Victoire. He left over 60 paintings of the mountain. His studio remains as he left it. Now owned by the University, it is maintained as if he just stepped out. Even the basket of ripening apples is kept so that there is fruit in each stage and the aroma permeates the room. Over a hundred years since his death and his spirit lingers large. The grounds that surround the studio are a maze of paths dotted with work by students. I must admit to visiting more than once and it remains one of my two favorite places I have visited since first visiting France. While I do appreciate the policy of no cameras inside the studio, I do wish I had photos of it to share. You will just have to visit it yourself!

Upon returning to California from the first visit, I was approached by my friend Carol. Carol, an artist, was putting together a limited edition art book with a grant from the Art’s Council. As we talked, she asked me about art & France. I told her that “art is the loom the tapestry we know as France is woven upon.” She asked if she could quote me. Bien sur! (of course) Then she told me that she would require a poem from me that would speak of art & France. That was what brought about the writing of the poem below.
Dans le jardin de Cézanne
Meditations on Visiting Atelier Cézanne

One hundred years
After his death
The doors to his shrine
Open to the masses
I but a privileged pilgrim
A witness – I inhale deeply
The plethora of scent
Aging fruits
A wicker basket
Darkened by harvests of the past

A long shelf balanced
Across the western wall
Dusquenoy’s cupid keeps company
With the three skulls of death
Enlightenment radiates
From the northern exposure
A burst of light
Color spreads wantonly
I am humbled in each direction

Le choeur fantôme
Intones hymns of praise
Peaches, apples and pears
Whisper of fields they have known
An old apple dreams of freshness
Home is Aix-en-Provence
Sainte-Victorie
He paints their secrets
With celestial vision
And transparency

Since moving to France, I have returned to visit Atelier Cézanne and was just as moved as my first visit. Having spent six weeks exploring France on my first visit and living here for over four years, I continue to be delighted at every turn. However, I must admit that to date, my favorite places are Montmartre and Atelier Cézanne. There is no doubt that I shall return again and again.

Bisous,

Léa

In Memoriam: George Whitman

“Be Not Inhospitable To Strangers Lest They Be Angels in Disguise” – George Whitman

Today, this blog is dedicated to the man who made this Mecca for writer’s and reader’s  all that it could be. George Whitman, an Angel in Disguise, died on Wednesday at the age of 98 years young.

No doubt, his spirit will linger on in every corner of the shop, between book and page now safely in the hands of his daughter and those entrusted with Shakespeare & Company’s care. The highlight of my first trip to Paris was when they accepted my first poetry chapbook and added it to Poet’s Corner. The receipt is safely tucked in the journal I carried around France.

Recently, on my other blog: foundinfrance.wordpress.com, I focused on Shakespeare & Company. It is a place that holds fond memories and I shall return.

If you have not experienced a visit to Shakespeare & Company, it is an unforgettable experience. When you cross George’s threshold, you enter another world. This is a world of books, writers, readers and a remarkable chapter in Literary History. George and Shakespeare & Company are each legendary in their own right.

Sleep well. Your rest is well earned and know you have made a difference in countless lives. To George’s daughter Sylvia and the many others who are dedicated to continuing George’s legacy, I offer my sincere condolences.

Bisous,

Léa

Bread & marriage

“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”     –  Dorothy Parker

BREAD & MARRIAGE

years and years

of baking bread

bread I did not eat

did not want

the emptiness remained

feeding family

feeding others

the staff of life

kneading

always

needing

divorce

can be a beginning

i don’t bake bread

anymore

but the emptiness

has gone

other hungers

emerge

-Bisous,  Léa

Finding voice

Finding voice…

Be tells me to keep writing

Cait tells me to just write

My past tells me I can’t write

Fear writes for me

Anger writes the loudest, and is most prolific

Joy is silent, nearly invisible

Sadness drones on and on

Pain is sharp, isolated, and intense

Journals are scattered about my home

Tossed into the recesses of the car

They harbor numerous attempts of binge/purge

When moving I will devalue their loyalty

As I shove them through the shredder

The ghosts of childhood critique every effort

They silence me with threats to expose my failure

Deep inside the struggle

To break through the barriers

Quakes with revelatory thunder

Bisous,

Léa