France

 

These are the fields I've driven across so many times before.
The nineteenth of August... northern view. finally alone,
    I write to you: Love rules my life.

    THE 5th LEG OF THE EUROWALK - FRANCE

A thousand feet above the Channel coast.  Cherbourg.
Host to the haunting memory of indigo and dusty rose and times
    I rode on the Continent... burning autumn leaves in late
    September... aroma in a biker's wind.
Then late for school I would tear myself from France.

And now I reënter the spell, on foot - hushedly, and with
    reverence for the trance.. Stendhal, Balzac, Debussy
    and Ravel, Voltaire, Molière, Robespierre and Racine,
    Rodin, Renoir, Proust and Monet.  Camille Corot and the
    road before me. D87 a two lane blacktop south and
    east to Byzantium...

To be with Jean Rhys in Paris, or to drink with Joyce when he
    came through that town. to tour with Montaigne and
    Bridget Bardot, LeCorbusier's Ronchamp, Azay le Rideau, O
        I could tell of days of intoxication with France:
            an orchard near Aurillac, curve of the river Yonne,
            the grass we danced on at Rambouillet behind
            the King's chateau. "Here, There, and Everywhere"
            had just been released...

            I sang at the old Olympia on the Boulevard des Malesherbes before they tore it down.
            I've ridden in rain on my BMW by the Porte de Clignancourt.
                We sang at night on the sidewalk "Select Latin," at a racetrack
                in Paris where Degas painted and a hundred thousand
                France came for each of two nights.. I have skied
                with the students at Les Deux Alpes . brandy and moonlight.
                peace in the Midi . and in the Ardêche mountains an
                antique simplicity... we sang on the boardwalk
                    with Kathy in Nice under the stars in Sixty-five
                    and used the francs we made to eat..
                    the Frenchman I most got to know was Rousseau -
                    I see him as an orphan boy in the high Savoy...

I have seen my own life pass in France, since Sixty-two in
    old Combray . my own Swann's way.
Blasé to the Norman land today, I muse: How like Odette
    was Laurie Bird - naughty and gorgeous.

Written walking through France

Copyright @ Arthur Garfunkel
Used by Permission of Author. All Rights Reserved.