MONET REFUSES THE OPERATION
Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all of my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don't see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of
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
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament become
the fluid dreams of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don't know each other
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight so quickly to
that it 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 without end.
WRITING PROMPT: Describe the quality of the light that is around you right now. What actions does the light take upon the objects it touches? What colors can you see? Describe the shapes the light takes; describe its "personality."