The Artist
by Ann Thornfield-Long

Claude Monet stands on a tower of years
watching intently the light reflecting
from your brown eyes.

He wants to see if you believe
the tiny lashes of his color-laden brush
as he conjures for you the suggestion

of a figure struggling uphill in the formal
dress of an itchy, wool suit. Do
you feel the man pressing against

the gravity of public opinion? What is,
and what is not, art? Does the sun
pummel your neck as it does his?

He hopes you notice among yellow
blossoms his asymmetrical arm
aching from holding the brush

for hours as he dabs kisses of color
on the cheek of canvas? He is pleased
when you wonder if the path is really

sheltered, or if the man who carries the burden
of genius must walk miles before he receives
the slaking comfort of shade.

(After viewing the painting "The Sheltered Path" by Claude Monet.)


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