John Constable's Seascape Study with Rain Clouds
Praise be the Art whose subtle power could stay
Yon cloud, and fix it in that glorious shape;
Nor would permit the thin smoke to escape,
Nor those bright sunbeams to forsake the day....
-- William Wordsworth
What could be more impossible than to paint the shapes and unstable configurations of
clouds? The painter gazes, marks the canvas, and looks up; the clouds have turned,
twisted, swelled into something new. They present moving targets in time, stories, rather
than image. Impossible to arrest no matter how fast the painter paints.
you can feel the speed
of his desperate laying on
paint with urgency
trying to capture the smoke
to reproduce falling rain
he rides the raindrops
down with quick slashing brushstrokes
hammering the sea
stirring up the salted waves
refusing to hold their pose
frozen wisps, the black
racing clouds, stilled by his brush
in his petrified stone air
as tiny ships hesitate
This poem was first published in Haibun Today.
Charles Tarlton says, "I am a retired professor of philosophy living and writing poetry in Northampton, Massachusetts with my wife, Ann Knickerbocker, a painter."
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