From Gods of Water and Air. I write a lot about the sea, living along California's coastline all my life. Monet's Normandy paintings spoke to me of the coastline I know so well, and inspired this.
He hasn’t quite abandoned the shore
for the celestial. He leaves the viewer
a toehold on the sand. He has yet to go sailing
with the gods of water and air.
Confronted by the vast, he answers
with seven sailboats on the horizon,
spaced as evenly as place settings. Tiny
between sky and sea, they float there,
witty as elder aunts. He isn’t choosing
between here and hereafter--just
letting the hues
grow full of fire. The boats both approach
and recede, as he plays with their figure-ground.
He hasn’t yet gone into the world of mist,
but an evanescence is growing. I’m mad
the sea, he writes. He brushes alight
its hidden prisms. In his umbrella
pastels and wool-tuft clouds, eternity leans
closer. Still, that dark patch of sand
at the lower corner makes us hear the crunch
under Madame Monet’s black shoes
as she comes, calling, and calling him to lunch.