Monet at Giverny - 1921
by Floyd Skloot
Even now, waking in garden shade Sixty years later, as afternoon light softens around him
Monet remembers Algerian dawns.
He sees sun drenched color blaze
where there is only haze. He smells lemon as roses bloom around his chair.
For a glimmering moment he is back at the place that taught him how to see.
His Algeria was never the desert drama of Delacroix, all rearing stallions and blood crazed lions, tigers, falcons. It was not exotic women with servants and hookahs in lavish apartments.
Monet saw it as wispy mornings of crimson air blanched of blue. His fellow cadets slept through a riot of violets and yellows at noon. The rippling leaves of their tents green in the afternoon sun.
Sudden breeze carried a winking glaze that was saffron at heart. Nothing looked the way he thought it would. Nothing held still beyond the moment of being seen. Color lived and therefore color changed as time turned his eye true.
Then he fell ill, came home raving of the world renewed by Sahara winds. It seems now as his mind clears that part of him was always old after Algeria.
He struggles to his feet, struggles for balance. The Japanese bridge spanning his water garden is a mere arc of crumbling sand, until he blinks it back together.