The Umbrellas, Robert A. Sieczkiewicz
Will you ever tell me your real name?
Does it forever have to be Grisette?
Oh dear you make it a terrible shame,
When our paths do cross you are ever wet.
Shall search every milliner’s shop yelling,
Où est ma Grisette, with an umbrella,
Held high and a big smile will be wearing.
Shame willing to chance to be your fella.
Under my umbrella you need to be,
As you are chilled. My warmth can give to you.
Clouds are heavy, rain through the night, maybe.
By my side you shake. Red lips are now blue.
Come with me, as my room will keep you warm,
And I watch so you don’t suffer furth’r harm.
This painting was done by Renoir, and he is calling our the viewer attention to the class differences in France. Notice how the young lady in the lower left forefront standouts for two reasons. She is the only Grisette in the painting and the only adult without an umbrella. Grisette refers to a young working-class Frenchwoman which is derived from the cloth used to make their dresses. The model for the Grisette is Suzanne Valadon who was the female dancer in the Danse à Bougival. It is also that that she was a lover of Renoir.
The basis for the poem is simple chivalry and passion. The speaker will do most anything to learn more about this young lady but will not take advantage her. And she places a cat and mouse game with him. Why is it every time they encounter each other she is without an umbrella? If she had one she would be unable to share his and get close to him. But we see there are risks. In the game of love there are risks, here it was her health.