Renoir at Moulin Huet

Not Normandy this time. Guernsey is near
but warmer, with a golden August glow;
a mix of greens on granite greys that fall
incisive, slanting in the turquoise sea.
He finds this bay and stalks it like a deer.
Quick glimpses, as each twist along the track
unearths his prey, allows his sights to wheel
on to a different line, a fresh attack.
He loves the giggling girls, the way they squeal
galloping into waves, no hint of shame,
young creatures in the wild running free.
One month, and fifteen canvases. Some haul.
He drags his bulging bag of captured game
back to the kitchen of his studio.


Hugo ends up in Guernsey, forced to roam
because he can’t shut up. He’s on the run
with royalties enough to build a home.
“Three-storey autograph” - so says his son.
He raids the junk shops, finds chinoiserie,
commissions carving from a ton of oaks,
laying a trail of personality –
a lover’s secrets, Latin mottoes, jokes.
Up at the lighthouse top, he claims a den
where freedom’s champion can work all day,
then sleep. The mistress, and the family,
recede. Will Garibaldi come to stay?
Occasionally, he rests his busy pen,
stares out into the blue, where France must be.