Claude Monet, 1903–04
When in early morning
London fog throws its veil
of thick organdie over the Thames
dawn espouses dusk.
Confetti is spread over the town
and sequins of frosted dew glitter on the ground.
Victoria Tower, Big Ben and Central Tower
stand like gothic ghosts.
makes London beautiful
gives breadth to buildings
that become grandiose under its mysterious cloak.
Warehouses become palaces.
its own country of subdued landscapes
its own symphony of yellow
orange and black
its own poetry.
France and England mingle in this fog.
Monet could be in Honfleur.
Or dining at the Auberge de Madame Toutain.
He is young again with Camille.
Now he is in his garden in Giverny with Alice.
On the Thames
the ghosts of drowned sailors linger.
Their souls call out but no one responds.
He too is silent and he refuses to accept
the cups of death they proffer him.
The pall of life falls on London Bridge.
His worlds are within a canopy of droplets.
Dreamtime phases out.
The bells of Big Ben re-enact these moments
and the habits of space and time
lie bare in this country of fog.