Les Baigneuses, vers 1900-1905
Is it that you move, blithe figures?
Is it that the earth’s motion comes
Neatly over you, that all is shaken
In a moment of understated gauche?
Do you fall in place, each of you
As naked as your antecedents, light
As figures in a shadowplay? Do you
Come to the water’s edge in earnest
Or in comedy? What dull nature
Rules here than your ample selves?
Shades of water and leaf and sun
Play bodily across your unformed
Skin, tangle messily in your weight
Of too-plain hair. One among your
Number seems to fall with graceless
Intention into the first and shallower
Water. At the far bank, trees fester in
The turbulent air, their blue leaves
Held out in the last light on stalks
Strewn with gossamer and dust.
We watch your commerce, be it in
Love or in laxity, with the vaguest
Dissatisfaction. What light beyond
These figurines? Speak softly and
Hold your children close! There is
A bleared candle singing in the tree.
Owen Lucas is a British writer living in Norwalk, Connecticut. As a student at Goldsmiths College in London, he was taught poetry by Anthony Joseph and Jack Underwood, among others, and started to produce his own work. A close association with members of what became the Clinic arts and poetry collective lead to readings across London and to his first publication. Since moving to the United States, he has featured in numerous British and American journals and poetry reviews. In September, Mountain Tales Press will publish his first chapbook, entitled Afterworks.