He could not paint  a world that glares,
For his  shimmered softly.
His  cliffs, cathedrals, seas appear
congenial things of liquid light;
and even locomotives seem
endearing in their earnest puffing.
 
Today our plastic, glass and steel
show only calculation.
His fields are sun become companion;
his farms not on but of the earth,
palpable of juice, manure and moss.
 
Poppies slain, our fields are shaved by specters,
anonymous in rolling factories
tentacled to ravage miles of plain.                                                                        
 
His women, too, are of the earth,
dresses blossom-like, curved by breeze,
their faces quiet freshness, cool in tonic air.
 
Ours  are shrewd of face,
their eyes, mouths,  sharply limned.
 
 
No, the time gave to Claude Monet
a scene, a pallet, we cannot know
as we stride about mechancically
among angles and edges.

(1998)

Published with permission of "Envoi," No.121

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