Sunday, May 8, 2016

October of Timelessness and Monet's Lilies

Fragment of Water Lilies by Claude Monet, L'Orangerie, Paris, 2011 photo by Maja Trochimczyk
Clouds from Water Lilies by Claude Monet, L'Orangerie, Paris
In Canada, October is the month for Thanksgiving, but in China, Cyprus, Croatia, Germany, Nigeria, Portugal, Taiwan it is the time to celebrate national holidays. In America we have the Columbus Day and a whole month to come up with the most outreageous, bloody or scary Halloween costumes...

Global October celebrations also include the birthday of Mahatma Ghandi, Free Thought Day, World Food Day, Apple Day, Spirit Day, Halloween, and All Souls Day, among many others. There is something different to celebrate in each country in this month of harvests and remembrances of death and dying.

One of my favorite, nostalgic and melancholy celebrations of October is the annual visit to a cemetery. Families visit the graves of their loved ones, bring candles and prayers. Thousands of candles flicker in the rain, wet leaves shuffle under the feet, the air is scented with smoke and memories of days past... people gone... happiness subdued by absence... I must say that I rather liked it, these dark evenings among the ancient crooked tombstones of Poland...

Cemeteries are different under the brilliant California sun that banishes melancholy. But it is good to remember our place in the stream of time, a raging torrent that becomes more violent every day. Death and life, farewells and welcomes. New babies are being born and cherished. Life goes on... 

For October, I selected a poem on cosmic time and timelessness as it is reflected in the transience and beauty of our lives. Someone said that the best way to walk it is to keep one feet in time and the other in timelessness...

© 2008 by Maja Trochimczyk

Yes, there is time
Yes, there is weight
of the rocks on the skin
of the earth making
It harder to breathe
for the beast of eons

Yes, there are clouds
Yes, there is air
cut with wispy stripes
of whiteness wishing,
willing itself into being,
into solid forms that
dissolve in the merest
breeze, flee into nothing

Yes, there we are
Yes, matter stays
atoms, prions, electrons
dance in an endless cycle
of DNA spirals, molecules,
blades of grass and gravel

Yes, there is time
to watch, to catch
the transient beauty
of living in red harmony
blood circling in our veins,
rock dust changing into stars

Delighted with the colors and patterns of water, clouds, shadows in Monet's monumental Water Lilies at l"Orangerie in Paris, I sat down and wrote, wrote, wrote, whatever came to my mind. Here are the eight Water Lilies...


Water Lily I

Etched under my eyelids
The water lilies rest on the surface
Of Monet’s pond at Giverny
Intense blues and greens of his palette
Fill me with color he invented

This, I want to see – his nenufary
This I want to be – a lily among his blossoms
With my golden hair
In a halo of sunrays, above aquamarine
And celadon

My crystal necklace
Sparkles like the pond he made
Sunlit, translucent
Like stained-glass windows
Lined with birdsong

Water Lily II

Clouds measure the stillness of water
Cerulean breeze dances in the grass
He starts a new canvas
Turquoise into aqua into mauve
The secret of water lilies
Born in iridescence

His garden drinks in
The dark vertigo of the sky, swirling
With opaque strands of mist
Dawn air chills his fingers

Water Lily III

He keeps the colors royal
Vermillion and scarlet
The breeze shifts, scattering the patterns
Cleansing the air
 From distant traces of mustard gas 

The breath and the brushstroke are one
He is the wind, moving through the garden
Made to be painted

Water Lily IV

Lily pads float up into indigo
Gathering like birds before winter
Pulled by the gravity of belonging
They fall into the night

Blossoms and cicadas
A nightingale’s song swirls above their sleep
A cricket counts the brushstrokes

Stiff fingers ache
It is good he had the ponds dug out
Life is good


Water Lily V

The dusk is falling
Brush drops from his fingers
A stretch of darkness
Contours barely felt
In shade-green leaves

The water – unfathomable
Murky, mysterious
The end of the beginning
Crimson lily brightens
In moonlight

Water Lily VI

The moon is too close
Willow’s shadows
Grow on the other shore

His brush sings of solitude

The willows weep and weep
Drop leaves into the pond
Remember the fallen

Water Lily VII

He strains to see
The dream of a blue horizon
White shape-shifting clouds
Shimmy across the water

A day transposed
Above the deterioration
Of time stretched by blindness
He opens a latch in the sky
To escape

Fragment of Water Lilies by Claude Monet, L'Orangerie, Paris, 2011 photo by Maja Trochimczyk

Water Lily VIII

Light becomes heavy
Settles into the sunset
Brightness of yellow hearts
Erased in the still, stilling world

Silence tastes of Beaujolais
White blossoms open and close
From dusk to dawn
From dawn to dusk

Only the water the lilies and the sky 

Fragment of Water Lilies by Claude Monet, L'Orangerie, Paris, 2011 photo by Maja Trochimczyk

                   Lilies by Claude Monet, L'Orangerie, Paris

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