Impressions on ‘The Sheltered Path’
by John C. Mannone

I perhaps owe having become a painter
to flowers … I must have flowers, always,
and always.
Even here at the edge
of the woods, the scarlet poppies
amongst the Argenteuil poplars.

I do not see the forest for the trees
and also not the tree or its forest
of leaves, instead, I look at each leaf,
its glob of color, its own geometry,
and blotch of shadow. Then I look
at the next one, and in between:
here is a little square of blue, here an
oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow.

Another subtle blob, a delicate dab
of blush with a fine-tip paintbrush.
Another stroke of chlorophyll-green,
and those sprayed with sunlight.
Paint it just as it looks to you, the exact
color and shape …

I would like to paint the way a bird sings—
a symphony of color, tone, and hue.
I’m attentive to each one of the leaves
of the hundreds, but I don’t paint all
of the rustling noise before I zoom
out of the sheltered path in the forest.
I simply want to marvel at the universe
of leaves, the enormity of the galaxy
of trees.

And of course, the quiet flowers.
What keeps my heart awake is colorful

Author’s Note: Italicized words are quotations of Claude Monet

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