Sunday, April 06, 2014

The Earliest Known Representation of a Storm in Western Art

Like an accident or an insistence, without model or precedent,
water was rising and water would fall and flatten a picture
strung out on perspective with over-muscled jumpy horses,
men about to kneel, about to ride. The envoy whose story it was
suffered from dust, charm and the wary illumination

of bulbs that drooped from tendrils of wiring, light metered
by collection boxes, the cathedral’s erratic pulse. I chose
a child saint who walked among victims of the plague
in a besieged city and died young. I rehearsed her name
but on that cold hard day the sky kept its distance.

I come home and the street is a river, the roof is flotsam,
chimneys are periscopes, gutters fountain, pavements lagoon.
It has rained for so long that we should have faith in it, faith
in the sea and the boat and the horses. Give me your hand,
love, look down, we are flying over our lives.

-- Lavinia Greenlaw

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