Monet in Winter

Though he must have longed for summer gardens
at Giverny, hot light flaring off water-glazed lilies,

Monet did not abandon work in winter
seated outdoors at his easel in several overcoats

and scarves to record swiftly in broad strokes
with a reduced palette the many “effets de neige.”

Great chunks of milky ice clog a slate-blue Seine.
After a thaw runny melts of muddy beige

and grey fill the ruts along a dirt road. New snow
gleams like gold in noon light. In a rural scene

distant poplars rise like plumes of dingy smoke
under a late afternoon sky of numbing pewter

where a fading sun frozen in the stilled time
of art holds the long, cold night forever at bay.