Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Monet's Giverny

Monet's Waterlilies

Today as the news from Selma and Saigon
poisons the air like fallout,
I come again to see
the serene, great picture that I love.

Here space and time exist in light
the eye like the eye of faith believes.
The seen, the known
dissolve in iridescence, become
illusive flesh of light
that was not, was, forever is.

O light beheld as through refracting tears.
Here is the aura of that world
each of us has lost.
Here is the shadow of its joy.

Robert Hayden

I couldn't help but marvel at the timeliness of 3QD posting this poem by Hayden. I had been meaning to post pictures of Monet's garden in Giverny in any case, but reading the poem, I guess, precipitated that. The poem wonderfully describes the joy of looking at Monet's beautiful paintings but reading it I felt, not surprisingly, that it wonderfully described the experience of seeing his gardens (still beautifully maintained) at Giverny. The experience was almost like being inside one of those wonderful canvases he painted.

When I visited, it wasn't water lily season quite yet. The flowers were just coming into bloom and small lily buds dotted the pond. It was somehow, not very strangely, a familiar sight. But there was also the mad riot of colours, fragrances, reflections. It was a completely different world. Beautiful, comforting, strangely pristine.

There's nothing I can say to give a sense of what it is like to be there. Here Monet's words themselves seem apt. "Non, je ne suis pas un grand peintre, grand poète. Je sais seulement que je fais ce que je peux pour exprimer ce que j'éprouve devant la nature." I am not a great painter, great poet. I just know that I do what I can to express what I feel in front of nature.


km said...

I just know that I do what I can to express what I feel in front of nature.

That's the *fundamental* difference between Monet and me. When I visited Giverny, I could only think about the excellent petit dejeuner that day.

niTin said...

Since you'd graciously asked me to leave a comment. How could I not.
And since the post is about tender poems and more tender pictures, what other way is there to write a comment with the worst poem in history (according to some)
Here goes:

Corn, corn, sweet Indian corn,
Greenly you grew long ago.
Indian fields well to adorn,
And to parch or grind hah-ho!
Where shines the summer sun,
And plied his hoe or plough
Blessings to men have you not gone
Making food of your dough?

In England, in France and Germany
At morn, at eve, at noon
Johnnie-cake and harmony
Increase the family boon.

hideindisguise said...


Roxana Ghita said...

and I have to think of me - now that is self-centred :-) - often struggling to make pictures which would resemble Monet's paintings!

Fëanor said...

High art and poetry! Too much. I'm reminded of Keats' Song of the India Maid, where one stanza goes:

Beneath my palm-trees, by the river side,
I sat a-weeping: in the whole world wide
There was no one to ask me why I wept,--
And so I kept
Brimming the water-lily cups with tears
Cold as my fears.

Billi_in_a_gamlah said...

This is beautiful, just like a Monet.