Friday, May 15, 2009

786. Eavan Boland - From the Painting ‘Back from Market’ by Chardin

Dressed in the colours of a country day -
Grey-blue, blue-grey, the white of seagulls’ bodies -
Chardin’s peasant woman
Is to be found at all times in her short delay
Of dreams, her eyes mixed
Between love and market, empty flagons of wine
At her feet, bread under her arm. He has fixed
Her limbs in colour, and her heart in line.

In her right hand, the hindlegs of a hare
Peep from a cloth sack; through the door
Another woman moves
In painted daylight; nothing in this bare
Closet has been lost
Or changed. I think of what great art removes:
Hazard and death, the future and the past,
This woman’s secret history and her loves -

And even the dawn market, from whose bargaining
She has just come back, where men and women
Congregate and go
Among the produce, learning to live from morning
To next day, linked
By common impulse to survive, although
In surging light they are single and distinct,
Like birds in the accumulating snow.