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Alistair Kilburn


La France Profonde


The chateau on its hill commands
Such views as only God demands,
From forest heights to farming lands
And where the ancient village stands

In medieval stones and tiles
With sunlit squares and shady aisles.
While through the gorge the river files
In mazy coils for miles and miles.

A sudden flash of azure blue
Reveals the flight a fisher flew
Above the water, straight and true;
- Perchance to glimpse this halcyon view!

Beneath a cliff in calmer swirls
A speckled trout sees scattered pearls
Where tumbling silver rapid whirls
As onward down a cleft it curls,

Rippling on through rocks and rills,
Past water chutes and walnut mills,
'Til, way beyond the farthest hills,
Into a distant sea it spills.

The shimmering fort in purple haze
Reminds of countless lazy days
When noon-time's sun is all-ablaze
And most life shelters from its rays,

Save grass snakes basking in the heat,
While flutt'ring swallowtails compete
With moths on wings of vibrant beat,
To take their fill of nectar sweet.

And all the while warm thermals rise;
The raptor now on set wings flies,
Endlessly circling in the skies,
Scanning below with piercing eyes.

For country folk siesta's near;
Blue shutters close against the glare
And boules no longer rules the square
As old men seek a shaded chair.

So, while the searing orb has shone
All life a gentler pace takes on
Until the swelt'ring heat is gone
And shadows grow in Aveyron.

When evening falls – this moment hold;
Earth's mauve and orange clothes unfold,
The silver river turns to gold,
- And skies paint wonders to behold.

In warm dark air hear crickets' wings;
From distant thorns the night bird sings.
All this, and more, nostalgia brings,
- For France Profonde and Gallic things.

Submitted: Friday, March 29, 2013
Edited: Friday, March 29, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

I lived for some years in deepest rural France. It has left a mark of its own, of both love and respect.

Comments about this poem (La France Profonde by Alistair Kilburn )

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  • Gibby Keys (3/29/2013 11:47:00 AM)

    'Blue shutters' brought the afternoon sharply into focus. Although there is a nostalgic tone to the poem, the down to earth phrase 'Gallic things' stops it from being sentimental. I've never been to Aveyron and now I feel I should like to visit it very much. Or reflect on my own memories of Sheepwash in Devon, on a similar summer day. (Report) Reply

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