Today's poem is by Lynne Knight

To a Friend Unable to Write
After Renoir’s Washhouse at Lower Meudon (1875)

It looks like nothing much, a scene
along a river, skiffs and houseboats,
a boat with sails furled, early morning.

But (the title says) the larger boat's
a washhouse, and maybe those are figures
going in. They could be clothes, draped

over rails and lines to dry. It's all too shimmery
to know, and that's the point: the light,
shimmering, and the already-the-next-second

while you think about the last, rushing
to keep up as if all life's another language
you're just learning. Of course someone

must have come along—even before
the last brush stroke?—to loosen the ropes
of a skiff, pole off from the bank.

Someone with grief or joy, or maybe just
that watery sense of everything changing
but staying the same. But it's the light

that matters, rushing too fast to comprehend.
How beautiful it is, and must have been,
and will be when you look again.

Copyright © 2004 Lynne Knight All rights reserved
from The National Poetry Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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