Monet at the Hermitage


That last Monet, purple-reddish
fields levitating between
green poplars pulsating
against a blue sky
well, it grabbed me,
reminded me for the upteenth
time this year how far
off my plan of living closer
to nature I have gone.
I’m in the cafeteria —
at the next table a 30ish
American man who is marrying
a 20ish Russian girl sits
with his American relatives
in a field of red Coke cups
and Saran wrap peeled from
St. Petersburg hamburgers.
“Have you been running?”
asks a Barry Goldwater
look-a-like. Yes, he says,
I’m getting fat – that’s what
she says. “Elena” – I can see
only the sharp curve of
her Slavic cheek, but he
recalls a young James Caan.

The wedding is Sunday, 1:15.
I can only think of Poussin’s blue,
Claude Lorrain’s feathery trees.

– Wm. Marling

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