The Regatta

HRR-drawing25 April 2016

So perfect the scene
I could only laugh,
at the perfection.
And, then, mid-laugh,
I stopped as melancholia
entered with the thought
the perfection was
entirely isolated,
and could not last
outside of what it defined:

The green lawn; the white cloud
of cloth spread smooth on the lawn;
the picnic baskets plump
with accoutrements: wine glasses,
the crystal of which caught hold of
and filled quickly with sunlight;
sandwiches, fat with ham, curly with sprouts;
sliced chicken bedded with avocado;
containers filled crisp
with lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower.
Plates and utensils completed
the cornucopia.

Wine was poured,
displacing the sunlight.

The regatta mattered
more each season
as the world beyond it
turned more violent.
Here was what was hoped
people could be, always,
gathered, civil, happy,
simply enjoying being.

Even when two of the boats
scraped one against the other,
the mishap was laughed off
as a close shave,
several of the clean-shaven
rowers rubbing their chins
in gestures of amusement.
How they flashed wide
their white-toothed smiles with ease!

Boats hooted.  Glasses clinked.
Noon changed into
its summer suit of one,
then the even more
sober suit of two.  Remnants
of picnics left little cyclones
on the white clouds of cloths,
now wrinkled on the now
a shade duller green of lawn.

Though lived to its depths,
how quickly the perfection
had passed.  Smiled
melancholia its enigmatic
smile in the soft
gold-stunned air of afternoon,
the white clouds of cloths
folded quietly away, the lawn
darkening, darkening,
as dusk’s breath blew
softly across it,
and switched on lamps
in windows, like smiles
flashing wide white-toothed welcome.

Noon had changed
into its suit of night.

Philip Kuepper
(15 March 2016)

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