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Poetry and Medicine
May 5, 2004

The Composition of Light

JAMA. 2004;291(17):2056. doi:10.1001/jama.291.17.2056

(after Monet'sWater Lilies)
For years, he watched the day come down
In drops, grains of sun against the glass.
He said: to be is to be seen as the light moves,
In bursts of red, greens of summer flaming on the lawn.
In Argenteuil, where he had moved his easel,
He caught on canvas: a river tented in snow,
A girl in a red cape, looking through a window.
Light restores what time would steal.
But from winter springs the loosening of desire.
Now age and night invade his eyes.
The lilies are scaffolded in darkness.
The dark trees sway. Even now he sees
Fires weaving in the particles of water,
Waves of sunlight locked within the leaves.

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