At forty-three you found a house in Normandy for eight children, a woman-friend and yourself still hungering for light. You walked the banks of the Seine and Epte, past poplars, fields, haystacks to observe a chromatic multitude— things not things but tips of brilliance refracting through the prismatic air and the vast blue space waiting in you— your mind learning with each change in brilliance. The wheeling sun made you shout: a child ran for more canvases to get it all down and your brush dipped, flecked, and stroked— “La Seine . . . elle est pour moi toujours nouvelle . . .” —early morning river mist, shrubs and trees made rootless, cloudlike by the way you saw them: hovering over their reflections on the slightly stirring water; and searching sky, verdure, light, and water which reflected all you walked along the outer rim of your soul, the first circle of a spiral growing smaller, (towards invisibility, away from light or so you thought: watching sunlight on your dead wife’s face shift over the one dark central fact, you quaked). You travelled widely, yet through the years, more and more, you circumscribed your realm of subjects by the boundary of your garden, had a pond built on the grounds (despite the townspeople and their laws: “Merde pour les naturels de Giverny, les ingenieurs!”) then suffered another loss—Suzanne, one of the eight, a beautiful young girl, not your own but by you cherished, died— But the artist forms his own central fact; your axis mundi, pivot of reality, was the water lily pond whereon you shone your love of life and of the sun’s deep infusions of color into swirls, discs, globes of petals: the lilies the only forms with weight in a weightless world of pure reflection as they floated on water and its dream of sky and trees. As you grew old into a wide-brimmed straw hat and great prophet’s beard, your vision demanded the proper measure—canvases on rolling easels—twelve by six feet and by putting three together you told us that what mattered was the sun within each mind behind human eyes which hold your lilies deathless and shining. Did I say you had the sun inside you— that you were the source of your brilliant transformations, or did you reflect what is always there in the vibrating air if only we could see it? One day I turned a corner on the city street and saw the late afternoon sky sparsely mottled with clouds reflecting the sun setting behind a dark uneven jagged line, a sky reflecting a dimming source of gold, and red, and purple, and for one brief moment, Monet, while looking up I saw the brilliant contents of your mind.