Poetry: Bathers at Asnières | clivejames.com
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Bathers at Asnières

After Seurat


Move in too close and this world could fall
apart — sit far enough away and let weekenders
float by, adding girls and wives to the stolen
Monday leisure of basking men and boys.

Let you and I remain convinced of the chase
and flirt of two punts, their slow dance, and
close call, of book and newspaper being read,
let the leather of boots seem hard enough, from here,

for walking. Forget the hand and eye of the puppeteer
who, sketch book and models abandoned somewhere
near Asnières, found the true false suppleness
of a girl in a pool, convinced that like a ballerina she

can stretch and fly, the ease and arrogance of weightlessness
letting him cast by once more from the other side
of the decade, world and river: re-finding a boy's hat
as red, and penciling out the discarded clothes of lovers.