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January 2013, vol 8, no 4

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Claire Everett

Two Sisters*

What did the thrushes know? That spring had smudged the palette and the brush was poised in the artist’s hand. Briefly, the light and the blossoms were perfect. With the sun warming their breasts, they knew they had but an hour to sing. Broad sweeps to fill the canvas. Dabs, like petals, here and there. Ah, those dappled glades of song! It was no time for singing merely. Sweet or hoarse, soft or fierce, so many tones to stave off darkness. Stroke by stroke, these broken colours, blended to nothing by night’s cold eye. And to terrace, grove and garret, silence, just as surely, stained with all that hour’s song.

when spring
is the breath of blossom
and the pulse of vine
come out to the terrace,
my sister in all but blood

your mind will be
fragrant with poetry ...
I love you best
when you wear your wide-brimmed hat
with the flowery crown

and I will find
my own sweet shade
eyes fixed
on the tilt of a wing
beyond the picture’s frame

a basket
of coloured yarns ...
we’ll take turns
to weave our words
the fabric of our lives

still waters ...
trees lean in to paint
their reflections
may we also leave some trace
on this shimmering world

* Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919), “The Two Sisters.”

Italicised text excerpted from Edward Thomas (1878-1917), “March”, Collected Poems, http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/04/b2003/hm4_1_x.html