Sonnet of the Week: Renoir at Moulin Huet

This is the poem that won a prize at the 2015 Guernsey Poems on the Move competition – the third time this has happened. I wrote it on my second visit to Guernsey, when I was collecting the second prize. For me, it is that kind of place – full of sights, ideas and little stories, as well as a pleasure to be in. It helps that the sun shines all the time.

Paul Francis.


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. 

Sonnet of the Week: Watershed

I’ll be sharing a sonnet a week, but though I’m prolific I won’t guarantee that they’ll all be hot off the press. This one was too good to miss. Corbyn’s victory has stunned the media, who have predictably resorted to cynicism as a default response. I don’t know where this will end either, but it is different and it’s definitely worth a look.

Paul Francis.


Watershed  for Jeremy Corbyn   We’re celebrating. Rooney’s fiftieth goal, our longest reigning monarch - and JC has won the leadership, against all odds. It’s not the seond coming, but it’s news. OK, it won’t go smoothly. Knives are out – the Tories; Blairites who can’t stand to lose. The media, oozing cynicism, doubt that this will last. How can a rebel cope?  By changing how the crazy game is played. By listening, not claiming sole control of policy, not bowing to the gods of city finance, cuts, austerity. For once, we’ll have someone who’s not afraid to speak his mind, and that will give us hope.