Poems by William C. Watterson

ON A LATE LANDSCAPE BY GEORGE INNESS
(For Ann Lofquist)

Coppery sky. Dark trees.
Before the heavens break
a menace of far thunder,
the billows' edge burnished
like an old penny lost
through the crack
of a farmhouse floor.

In a pasture to the left
an old Holstein kneels
in shadow,
the black of her coat
devouring what's left of the white
in the ruminating twilight.

It is Montclair, 1893.
He is going to die soon.
At the vanishing point
where he lingers
in a trick too true of perspective
a single red maple shines.
He has caught it in the secret shimmer
of storms,
in that halo not of this earth
which says the gods have given us eyes.

Though the first cold drops may fall
any second now
he does not hurry
the studied sure brushwork
that is his only ease.

If the rainbow comes, he will paint it.

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