The Lighthouse at Honfleur

The Lighthouse at Honfleur

Original Text


Bruce Meyer, <i>The Open Room</i> (Windsor, Ontario: Black Moss Press, 1989): 19-20.  
2It is the colour of a woman's eyes
3lifted above the shining streets,
5Blue descends on my life
6like the silence of a square at dawn;
7it walks beyond the market shadows
8to ape their subtle casting
9and is the first of all colours to fade.
10Yesterday the sands were bursting with pink flesh,
11rivulet tides of vanishing white
12clung to the ankles of children in green
13as a woman shook her morning sheets
14out the window of the grand hotel.
15I have never been able to paint from the past.
16I came because I felt the need
17to reconstruct the sadness in my life --
18because of all the mornings of despair
19there may have been a time when I was happy.
20Things prove themselves wholly by accumulation.
21I may have been a lover
22and flung the very edges of the city
23beyond the grasp of promises and lies.
24But love was never a fiction of mine
25and therefore, subject to fail.
26Last night I listened to the waves.
27"But Georges, there are no people there."
28"And none in portraiture as well," I said.
29Nothing that I ask for can be true --
30I asked for vision and was given paint,
31for assurance and received a brush.
32Even walking by the sea at dawn
33I could not fix the exact sensation
34of sand grains in my shoe.
35The beach settled in a canvas
36of feelings that I could not chain.
37I was confronted by what I had not done.
38And then there was that skiff with darkened sails
39and the fiction of its helmsman
40heading out toward the sea,
41who through the textures of a foreign mind
42might, point by exacting point, realize
43the ice-blue calm of a single man
44who stood watching from the empty strand
45as if the loneliest beneath blue sky.


1] The title is an oil on canvas painted in 1886 by neoimpressionist Georges Seurat (1859-91). Honfleur is a port-town in northwestern France on the Seine estuary. The building to the right of the lighthouse is a seaman'shospice. Back to Line
4] Pigalle: the Place Pigalle in Paris, named after the sculptorJean-Baptiste Pigalle (1714-85). Back to Line
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Copyright (c) Bruce Meyer. Printed by permission of the author. Any other use, including reproduction for any purposes, educational or otherwise, will require explicit written permission from the poet.