Learning How to Paint Light

I like a painting that makes me want to stroll in it.

                                                            Pierre-August Renoir

 Learning How to Paint Light

 For years you’ve sent me photos:
a man raking a labyrinth on a beach at dawn,
a green hummingbird,
a country church in Ireland,
a grandson singing.

Today,
you sent a black & white
of a woman strolling, from dark to light,
toward steps leading
to a captured pyramid of sky
amid tangled skyscrapers. 

They say that when Renoir
first learned how to paint light,
he threw out his studied charcoal sketches
and touched color to blank canvas.
And that he loved a woman
so much
that he would blend tints
of her pearled flesh
for hours.

 Without a word
I see what you have learned:
How to let light come and go
and accept its shadows.
And that you love a woman
so much
that you focus on paths of light,
to help her stroll back
to a beach at dawn.

Honorable Mention, 2010 Connecticut River Review Poetry Contest

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