Tuesday, April 12, 2005
monet refuses the operation


Doctor, you say there are no halos
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don't see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don't know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

- by Lisel Mueller


I found this poem at the beginning of
Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott. It resonated with me as a good description of the kind of view of things that I've acquired as a result of this postmodern journey, as well the kind of responses I've received from various people in the course of recent events at Evangel, as some try to draw me back into old, discarded ways of viewing the world.

 
posted by Mike Clawson at 11:32 PM | Permalink |


2 Comments:


At 4/16/2005 08:48:00 AM, Blogger A. Monk

Hey Mike,

Thanks for posting this little gem. It brings together two of my passions, medicine and art, though they seem to be in conflict in this particular poem :^) .

One thing I love about this poem is its emphasis on the power of perception. It always amazes me how two people can "look" at the same thing and see very different things (a frequent Oozian phenomenon).

Speaking of the Ooze... nice to see the pictures you posted! What a wonderful happening you had there. How old is the little one now?

 

At 4/17/2005 03:42:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Hey Aaron,

I'm glad you liked the pictures. If you're ever in Chi-town you should stop by too.

Emma is 3-months old. She's still hasn't started sleeping through the night yet tho'.

 

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