Losing Sight No. 1

 I am seated in an armchair.

You are reading, on a sofa, six feet away.

Your forehead, your glasses, your beard have disappeared.

This is my poem about losing sight

As your face becomes an outline

And your features become shadow

Across this well-lit room

This is a poem about losing sight

Of your glance, your smile, your frown—

Although we are this close.

I am standing on a city corner,

Looking across a street and down a block.

It is a sunny day.

This is a poem about spotting you–

Your shape, your stance, your walk.

Moving toward me from almost a block away.

You stride steadily in my direction.

But, this is a poem of wanting to see your details,

When only your outline seems to approach.

I am in my bright red Toyota, driving.

It is a day both of clouds and of sun.

This is a poem of surprise

When red lights and green lights each lose their color

Sometimes in sun, sometimes in shade, sometimes not at all.

This is a poem of wondering when

I should stop driving my car even in daytime

And thinking perhaps that is now.

This is a poem of wondering if I’ll 

Still recognize you coming down the street,

If you gain or lose weight or start to limp or require a cane.

 Or is this a poem of darting past red lights and green

Startling strangers when I run to them

Hoping it’s you.

Marguerite Beck-Rex

July 2010


About inkpaintwords

A feminist writer and artist with a penchant for all things French, living in Washington DC. My love of language led me, indirectly, to my pleasure in gardening, drawing and watercolor. It began with a book, a collection of New Yorker garden columns by Katherine White, wife of its founding editor E.B.White. Her enthusiastic appraisal of the literary merit of various garden catalogs led me to collect and keep her favorites as well as to hoard with them some more recently-emerged seed, bulb and seed catalogs. The beautiful catalogs inspired me to little by little turn our entire front lawn (our home had a wooded ravine close behind) into a garden. That grew into a lovely site with two simple arches, a gliding bench on a little sitting patio and modest slate paths winding through beds of shade lovers and whatever plants supposedly in need of full sun that I could manage to coax into colorful healthy bloom. A curiosity about color and color theory emerged as I became keenly interested in impressionist painters; that interest merged in some way with my urge to garden. I acquired more than one book about Monet’s garden and gardens of other impressionist painters, both French and American. One day I picked up a magazine for painters, and found inside an article about a painter I’d known. Among examples of her splendid watercolor paintings was her watercolor of her garden at that time. Suddenly I could think of nothing more exciting than painting my garden. I enrolled in her watercolor class in The Art League in Alexandria, VA. The influence that the collection of Katherine White’s columns about the literary merits of certain garden catalogs has had on my life has come full now. Ink, Paint & Words combines what has become an obsession with drawing and watercolor with my passion for language. Yes, I still garden. A table full of blooming potted plants sits on my apartment patio, backed by an ivy covered fence with park trees behind. My patio, and my larger environment of Washington DC, together provides wonderful vistas for drawing and painting. For a number of years annual trips to France gave me and my companions extravagantly colorful panoramas and charming tableaux for brush and pen. And yes, now I’ve painted in Monet’s gardens several times. But that, as they say, is another story.
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