Blog Post / Fall 2016 / Issues / Poetry / Poetry 2016 / Volume 47

Rush of Water, Pull of Time–William Snyder

Fishing in Spring, the Pont De Clichy (Asnières)

Vincent Van Gogh

Spring, 1887

We’ve not come to fish, though we may
buy some—perch, bullhead—caught among
the reeds and lilies where the water is still,
the grasses near the bank. Fishermen here
fish for themselves, but most
would be glad to sell. From their wide, green
boats, the shallow drafts, the blunted prows.
He’s come to paint the greens, aquamarines,
blues and whites. The Seine, those boats.
He likes water, he says, and the narrow poles,
sapling trunks twisted down and deep
into bottom mud, how, he says, they tie
the prows up river, to keep the boats
steady so they can cast and pull. They think
of everything, I say—to make things easy,
orderly. Like the river, he says. It’s flow
is orderly, except in flood, the hardship
of rain. Though it’s never really
stable, never just the same. Unlike those trees,
I say. Or the bridge. They’ll remain. I’ll
return in a year and see them. Yes, he says.
The bridge is still, stopped, permanent.
But watch me still this water too, bring it
to a stop. This same water beneath
those branches, washing gunnels bluish-black.
Someday you’ll see it again. Like this
very moment. Just wait. His brush, the paint,
I watch. I wait. It will come true.

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