Nice, France

Chagall Yellow painting (Nice)

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

         ~ From “September 1, 1939” by W.H. Auden

Berries at Nice Market Sept 2015I will always remember Nice for its explosion of colors that celebrate life. A Chagall masterpiece shimmering with saffron, emerald, and ruby.  Strawberries and blueberries bursting with ripeness at the daily market.  Pastel gems of macarons glittering in the gold display case at Maison Auer.  Matisse’s giant cutout blooming with orange and fuchsia flowers. The boy playing with the red ball on the beach.  The azure Mediterranean.

I wish I could forget the white truck. The image of the woman with the blood-soaked top. The green metallic body bag covering a child. The pink doll in the street.

As I watch the news reports, I know the places that the cameras scan.  I know the park, the hotel, the beaches.  I have strolled the Promenade des Anglais.  On Bastille Day it reverberated to the hum of happy beach-goers celebrating liberté, égalité, fraternité.  Carnage does not belong here.

It might be easy to feel helpless and hardened after this latest assault. Some voices call out for loyalty tests and bans on whole groups of innocents. Even torture. I reject these cries of despair and division, but not out of naiveté.  I understand that the well of hatred runs deep in our world.  But I refuse to join this darkness. Instead, please add my light to the chorus of affirming flames.

Beahc in Nice with small boy and red ball

16 thoughts on “Nice, France

  1. ” Iunderstand that the well of hatred runs deep in our world. But I refuse to join this darkness. Instead, please add my light to the chorus of affirming flames.” So perfect.

  2. Anne,

    Beautifully said! We all need to be the love & light in the world. Bless you for writing it so well.

    Nancy >

  3. Oh please send this to every news media that might print.  There is another story………it must be told.  Else we leave reality buildersto negativity .Hope is the hardest. Let’sFind a high mountain from which we canProclaim it.#1Joanne

  4. The memories of all the times I’ve been to Nice, including with Anne, Rich and Betty last fall, are now haunted by yet another terror attack. Ruthless and pointless murder of innocents. Last November I spent 10 days in a flat across the street from this most recent tragedy. Can I ever go back and enjoy it the same way? I remember my first visit to Nice in 1999 and so many visits since. What’s our future?

  5. Beautifully said. Thanks for sharing your thoughts of hope in spite of the hate and horrors we’re seeing in the news.

  6. Reblogged this on merumusing and commented:
    Am reposting this blog of a writer friend who expresses so well the only response I can think of in the face of the ongoing horror of violence, move towards “the light that the darkness cannot overcome.” In St. Paul, in Dallas, in Baton Rouge, in Nice and Paris, in Istanbul, in Charleston S.C., in Orlando, FL, in our hearts.

  7. In the midst of the horror – real and spread like a rainstorm by the media….I see hope and joy and good news all over the place.

    yes. it is a “search” for Joie de Vivre……..I search and find every day.


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