The Boardwalk on the Beach at Trouville (1870)

From the painting by Claude Monet 

Look closely, and you’ll see sand in the paint

from the beach at Trouville, where I sat

with Camille that summer. From this, you would

hardly guess that war was coming; that Prussia

had lured us in; that the clouds were not clouds,

but the report of cannon fire. Our flags would never

fly so proud again. Still, give us enough sunshine,

and we will forget the world. On the promenade,

one can hide from history beneath a parasol.

But we cannot run from fate, just as we cannot

escape our shadows. The slats of the boardwalk,

hot beneath our feet, were the duckboards

of future wars, the red boats on the waves,

blood spilling on the green fields at Mars-la-Tour.