Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Thursday Picture and Poem

Photoshopped photo taken in Colorado last summer

Summer seems to have arrived early here in southern Wisconsin, and I have been working outside digging in the flower beds and borders, and scrubbing  a year's gunk off the deck.  A word of advice - never build your deck around a maple tree.  Between the staining from rotting leaves in the fall, to all the little red flower-bud-thingys in spring, to the little brown seed helicopters that litter everywhere and sprout in the eves, it's just once darn mass after another.  I am whupped.  Tired.  Sore.  And I still need to get a flat of pink and white impatiens planted before they die in their little black plastic six-packs.  I'm headed to Door County tomorrow to see if I can get a watercolor juried into the Hardy Gallery, and to visit my aunt and sister-in-law.  So, I need to plant this afternoon.

But - I have been wanting to share a poem that a member of the Thursday painting studio gave me.  Here it is:

Monet Refuses the Operation
by Lisel Mueller

Doctor, you say there are no halos
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, and affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as an-
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don't see,
to learn that the line I call the horizon
does not exist in sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of be-
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors; fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
The Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
a fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don't know each other,
as if islands were lot the lost children
of one great continent.  The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touch-
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists of passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that is would take long streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases.  Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor with-
   out end.

1 comment:

laura said...

What a beautiful poem--I'm going to forward it to everyone!