Monday, 23 December 2013

A Winter Canvas OR Behind the Scenes

Winter can be as incredibly harsh as it can be incredibly beautiful. Such is life, and human nature. Art may well do its very best to interpret and record, but it can only ever be one interpretation of one particular moment in time…

 Claude Monet - Snow at Argenteuil (1875)


Straggly trees against a snowy sky,
robin redbreast in low key,
snowflakes like angels drifting by,
no more idea of what they’re doing,
where they’re going (or why)
than those of us down here, eagerly
lapping up the weather forecast
though for no particular reason other
than everyone else will be doing
much the same thing so there’s sense
of sorts in a camaraderie, missing
in our everyday lives, though friends,
and family do their best to assuage
our loneliness and poor self-esteem
where we can’t help comparing
ourselves with neighbours who seem
to be doing very nicely, thank you,
while we’re but getting nowhere fast
like the poor weather forecaster
always trying to convince us better
days are just ahead.

Robins singing, angel voices asking
why we’re all running around
in God’s backyard like headless chickens,
world chasing its own tail after Peace
(its Holy Grail), politicians rallying
worn phrases tried and tested
(if only for election clout) while the rest
of us rest on laurels as sure as winter
while glossing over its threatening skies
with talk of spring, change, everything
turning out better (if not best) when all's
said, done, leaving the astute artist
to gloss over any doubts with canvases
celebrating the bright and beautiful,
inspiring generations, in turn, to look,
listen, maybe even learn a thing or two
about life, love, nature and how art
copies more, far more, than what it sees
if only because beauty is in the eye
of the beholder, discern subtler differences
for better, for worse

Copyright R. N. Taber 2005; 2013

[Note: an earlier version of this poem appears in A Feeling for the Quickness of Time by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2005]

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