Waiting for Monet

Monet painted many lilies,
vibrant under a summer light
more so than even life,

but life in winter
with its bare trees in the park
and its buried bulbs
has another vibrance
that Monet also knew I’m sure.
Think of the beauty of a starry night
above the high desert where
city lights are forgotten;
those lights speckling the darkness
are really just stars in an
immenseness so much more
than all the stars put together,
and yet we fall down before
all that beauty
like toppling statuaries.
But we have not really acquiesced,
like when we drove out before dawn
through thick stubbles of sheared hay
under and moonless sky as we opened
stretched barbed wire gates and
following barely visible tracks
toward the canal
then checked our pockets for cartridges
and our packs for lunches.
We beheld the sky
once blanketed with stars
lit up with pale blue and the
dotted lines of high flying geese.
We waited motionless
for the low flying ducks.
We hid like children
playing adults playing soldiers
fighting the force of nature.
There was really no acquiescence
except the fading stars before
the sun, then the sun,
then the stunning beauty
of the fragile beasts
dead in our hands, gutted,
and their dead eyes still staring,
perhaps pleading,
as though God’s eyes might

be looking for an answer
to a question He will ask
at an undisclosed time.
And the line is drawn
to the killing of all things
and the spilling of blood
overspilling the altars.
From tabernacles everywhere,
those sacred places we call home
and elsewhere,
the ground cries out
like it did to heaven when
Cain shrugged and really
did not think it such
a big deal,
though he must have thought
it would be nice for lambs
and lions to get along at least.
But today soldiers walk the streets
where they say the garden
must have been,
and where the angel with
the flaming sword left
his post eventually of boredom.
Other angels came later
carrying messages. They always
seem to start with “Be not afraid”
but I think they were joking,
a little fun you know,
because angels do not normally
get out much I would think.
I also think Monet saw the stars,
and the dead eyes questioning,
and the horrors war.
Yet I doubt he saw an angel
whether with message
or with sword.
But he did paint water lilies
as though he was teaching God
something about His creation
something that God already knew
but was waiting
for Monet.

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