Late Afternoon, After a Summer Shower

A traffic light sets the even pace
For city commuters driving home on this avenue.
The broad and well-swept sidewalk
Is evenly punctuated by pin oak, boxwood and benches.
Each sequined by raindrops
A classic waist-high fence of vertical iron rungs
Almost encloses five small round tables and fifteen chairs
That cozy up to their storefront.

Under Starbuck’s now sun-dappled green umbrellas
The large, small, young and old
Settle into dry straw-backed chairs at the half-wet tables,
Sipping, reading, watching, being watched
On this curbside patio.
Bemused by print, or faces, or their own thoughts
Except for the two-year old,
Who alternately appears restless or stunned.
The red traffic light turns green.
The two-year old thinks, in his two-year old way,
“I’m out of here!”

Marguerite Beck-Rex

Reader at Starbuck’s, After a Summer Shower
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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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2 Responses to Late Afternoon, After a Summer Shower

  1. PatriseArts says:

    oh, I can feel it! It’s Connecticut Avenue, to be sure, and for me, just across from the zoo, and there are lots of kids and parents and visitors coming and going.

    Lovely, simple, evocative

  2. Your blog is a treat. In this poem, I particularly like the phrase “sequined by raindrops” and your ending.

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