Friday, May 24, 2013

Longing for the Riviera - Memories inspired by a painting

Any picture can tell a story
And any story can create a picture
     On the wall of my guest room hangs a framed poster of a tranquil and romantic work executed by Pierre Bonnard—Table Set in a Garden.  Bonnard painted it circa 1908.  But the setting is timeless. 

     One can almost feel the delicate warmth of sunlight filtering through the greenery, nearly inhale the fragrant freshness of the air.  It makes me want to take a deep breath and slowly let it out, releasing all my tensions and relaxing in the perfect moment. 

     And it recalls to me some wonderfully similar settings I found in various ports of call several years ago while cruising the western Mediterranean—Monte Carlo, Italy’s ports of Livorno, Civitavecchia, Naples, and Sorrento, as well as Palma and Valldemossa on the Isle of Mallorca.  What a fabulous trip that was.  The sunshine, the air, the flowers – bellisimo!
     Unfortunately, back home here there aren’t nearly so many lovely casual outdoor cafes where one can enjoy a brief respite and a cup of coffee.  We have very few such charming retreats in which to spend a refreshing pause while out shopping. Well, at least that’s true if one tends to do one’s shopping at the mall!

“No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee’s frothy goodness.”
~Sheik Abd-al-Kadir

Photo by Hank Kellner

Longing for the Riviera

Coffee in the food court
amid plastic potted palms         
fast food and flashing neon
in the air conditioned mall

lacks the carefree charm of

Pierre Bonnard painting - Table Set in a Garden, c.1908

latte at an open air café  
in the dappled shade of trees
on cobbled streets
lined with cottage shops.

There's really no comparison.


                              ~Elizabeth Guy


     No comparison indeed.  And the food!  The Mediterranean cuisine suited me to a tee.  Pasta, roasted summer vegetables, fresh fruits, cheeses, crusty Italian breads—and the wine!  Let us not forget the wine. 

     I dined like a pincipessa on that cruise.  Scrumptious!  And the best part was that I actually lost a few pounds on that vacation.  Mediterranean magic! 

What pictures do you have that recall a fabulous experience?
 Coming next week...

Summer daze

Also, visit my co-author's blog at
See his ten-part series on photo prompts to inspire writing at

And Don’t Miss…

            English teacher Mara Dukats and writer-photographer Cynthia Staples’ poems “white on white” and “The Absence of Color.” They’re in Part Four of Hank Kellner’s  twelve-part series THE POWER OF PHOTOS TO INSPIRE WRITING at the Creativity Portal  website,  as well as Anna J. Small’s writing assignment in "Viewing and Writing about Photos from Around the World"
            Also, read more about Reflect and Write in the SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

Another Helpful Source for Inspiration

For more photos and information not included in this blog, please visit Reflect and Write contains more than 300 poems and photos; keywords; quotations; either “Inspiration” or “Challenge” prompts; a “Themes to Explore” section; a “Twelve Ways to Inspire Your Students” section; a special “Internet Resources” section, and more. Includes CD with photos and poems from the book. Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photos to Inspire Writing by Hank Kellner and Elizabeth Guy (Prufrock Press, 2013), 153 pages, $24.95.

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