Poem: “Standing before Turner’s ‘Fall of the Rhine at Schaffhausen’ in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts”

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Poem: “Standing before Turner’s ‘Fall of the Rhine at Schaffhausen’ in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts”

The pounding crush of the falling

Rhine waters has no end unlike

these tiny foreground

figures who reach and

stretch to accomplish their

small tasks, muscles straining,

reaching, stretching,

yearning.

 

A few feet from this Turner is one of Manet’s

oils of the shooting squad execution of

fake Mexican Emperor Maximilian, a

fool if there ever was one, but

aren’t we all

fools who

end in the

vague smoke

awaiting the

coup de grace?

 

What, though, is the alternative?

The urgency, as Brooks says, is in

the blooming

amid the noise

and power

of the flood.

 

We are all, victims and butchers, crushed

by the same cataract,

slain by the same

bullet. You and me and

David.

 

Patrick T. Reardon

1.25.18

 

This poem was originally published in Requiem for David from Silver Birch Press in February, 2017.

 

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