Poem – Senses at the Gare Saint-Lazare

So, you probably know I quite enjoy writing poetry. I can’t claim that I’m particularly good at it, but I do find it a very pleasant creative outlet in my life. The majority of the poems I write are based on random inspirations that I have – mini brain waves if you will. A phrase or an image or a scene just pops into my head, and then I mull over it for a bit, and then start writing. And then I keep writing until I feel done, and then I edit it and then voila! A poem! 😀 

That said, I don’t often write poems as school assignments. School is great and all, but I tend to do prose writing for my scholarly endeavours rather than dipping into my poetry side. However, these past few weeks have changed that track record for me! My family has been studying works of art by the impressionist Monet during school, and my Mum has tasked my siblings and I to write poems based on the paintings we have studied. I shared one such poem a couple weeks ago – read it here. I’ve found these ‘assigned’ poems rather fun – it’s interesting to go about writing poetry in a different way to my normal way! So, today I’m sharing with you one of these assigned poems that I have titled ‘Senses in the Gare Saint-Lazare’. Hopefully you can figure out why I chose this title by the end of the poem. 😉


normandy train monet
Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare – Claude Monet


Echoes of hurried feet ring loud

Against the glass ceiling of the great cavern

The smoking beast huffs and puffs

Anxious to be on its way

The voices of people clamour high and low

Ebbing and flowing like the rumbling of ocean waves


Smoke clouds white and grey spew

From a coal black and coal smeared engine

Lamp posts stand like policemen on guard

In rows along slick metal tracks

Outside, the expanse of grey sky glowers

Threatening to spit angrily onto the ground once again


Bodies press close on either side

The scent of sweat and perfume mingling in a strange cocktail

Acrid smoke belches up high before hitting

The ceiling and twisting back down to caress unwary noses

Damp and the memory of rain sits heavily on shoulders

Inhaled by those already weighed down by fleeting life


Chocolate bought from well-lit shops

Melts slowly in lipsticked mouths that move incessantly

The dark taste of cigars hangs from

Thin lips stretched over stained yellow teeth

Breaths of wind and rain and smoke are

Gulped in by eager lungs tasting the city


Sweaty hands clutch nervously at leather bags and woollen coats

Fearing the fear of losing, the fear of being lost

Hard ground beneath heels and loafers and boots

 Never yielding to the daily pressure of thousands

The first drops from a grey sky patter down on flushed cheeks

As hordes move towards the iron horse that will take them home


Any thoughts on anything? Poetry? Paintings? Monet? Senses? I’d love to hear them. Let’s chat in the comments below! 🙂

Author: Hannah

Jesus follower. writer. bibliophile. dreamer.

5 thoughts on “Poem – Senses at the Gare Saint-Lazare”

  1. Monet would have smiled at all your senses took in underneath that glass cavern, along side the smoking beast. I’m sure there could have been loud echoes, voices clamoring high and low, and the scent of sweat and perfume as well as the chocolate. Loved the metaphors too: lampposts like policemen, smoke belching up high, iron horse, smoking beast, eager lungs – to name a few. Well done, Hannah. You got a lot out of that painting – in words!


  2. I found time after all (Sorry Tennyson) and I’m so glad I did. The way you’ve described it here has just opened up my imagination and I could see it in my mind’s eye as I read, the busy station, the people hurrying to and fro, the trains hissing and smoking and and the lipstick 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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