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about

This song is based on the true story of Mme Ollivon, landlady to Camille Pissarro and his family in Louvecienes, eleven miles from Paris. Monet was staying with Camille as the war began. Of 1,500 works by Pissarro only 40 survived.

lyrics

When Prussians came to take the house
I could not stop them then
They filled the rooms with horses
With sheep as well as men
I tried for poor old Camille’s sake
For Monsieur Monet too
But they were Prussian soldiers
There was little I could do

Camille had fled to England
Monsieur Monet followed on
When war came both made certain
That they never saw a gun
They left me to look after
All the things they left behind
But so much in so small a house
The troops were sure to find

The store room full of paintings
Fifteen years of Camille’s life
Pictures of our village
Of his children and his wife
And when the rain made good earth mud
And rivers of the lanes
The soldiers laid them end to end
And walked on canvassed frames

The colours and the pigments merged
And Monsieur Monet’s blue
Joined the reds, the greens, the browns
To form another hue
And poor Camille’s 'plein air' became
A blackened, blasted land
As boots tore holes with muddied soles
Sent from the fatherland

They burned the rest for daily warmth
The paint and oil were good
And gave more heat to blistered feet
Than shower dampened wood
But when they left I tried to clean
The pictures that I found
By Camille and his friend Monet
Deep trodden in the ground

But why I bothered I don’t know
Camille’s a silly fool
No one buys his paintings
They’re all laughing as a rule
And Monsieur Monet’s eyes can’t see
He’s never finished yet
No details, just impressions
Is the best that he can get

When they return and find the truth
Maybe they’ll see the light
And do an honest job for once
It never has seemed right
A life spent painting pictures
We all wonder why they try
See this one here, yes, take it sir,
A Monsieur Monet sky
That no one wants to buy

credits

from Somewhere in the Stars, released January 1, 2004

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Harvey Andrews Shropshire, UK

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