University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

France August 1992

Brigid Elson's poem placed second in U of T Magazine's Alumni Short Story and Poetry Contest

They are mad for flowers and shutters
splotches of red casually cast on
just the spot in manorial courtyards
as if deliberately placed
to look both right and wrong –
la fleur juste a l’endroit maladroit

Unexaminable by any light, dawn
or three o’clock in the hot sun
they lurk, perhaps, in cool, dark places
thinking precisely of where to put
the rest of the

Everywhere they throw blotches of red, in Normandy
the geraniums bring the brown stones to life
in Languedoc, a brilliant intensification of rose
douses Toulouse
they are crazy for
scarlet flowers and shutters
no matter what the temperature

Casually or subconsciously avoiding symmetry
as if it were an aesthetic crime
in the south or the north of France
courtyards distract the observer

Even in Paris where various madmen
attempted to balance
la Madeleine against l’Assemblée Nationale

There is the extraordinary art of ordinary people
a radiance of geraniums
in the wrong

Brigid Elson (BA 1961 St. Mike’s, MA 1963, BEd 1971 OISE/UT, PhD 1973) is runner-up in the poetry contest. Her doctorate is in French literature.

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