Betsy Holleman Burke
Morning class, pajamas under raincoats
lights go down, anticipation up, slides make
a carriage ride from rural Virginia
to the Met, the Jeu de Paume,
Picasso’s aerie, Rodin’s atelier,
Monet’s garden, the Louvre,
to Paris, London and Bruges.
Dreams of being a painters’ muse
obsess classmates who study art
in Paris, come back wild and worldly,
loving Gauloises and red wine.
With the slide library for comfort
I whiled hours learning artists’ styles
brush strokes, subjects, light.
Fifty years on, a gift of such abundance
seems rare, yet here I am in the Met
with my old friend, Delacroix.
Near tears I view his restored
The Agony in the Garden, luminous white
skin, invisible brush strokes, lustrous
light from above. Perfection.