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Summer Tableau 

Hay bales dot a shaved field cast in spun gold,
the color of Van Gogh's wheat.
A lustrous white egret is rooted erect in a rippleless farm pond,
the water dark as slate and ruminative.
Black and white cows doze in the adjoining pasture.
A solitary butterfly zigzags in flight,
then bastes its yellow on a gray-weathered barn.
The sky turns gunmetal;
a sudden shower pelts the impassive bovines.
The egret, twitching not a feather in the water spikes,
looks fixed against the dark welkin.
The raindrops are soundless on the dampened bales.
Nothing can be heard but the rain,
not even the caw of one of Van Gogh's crows or the lowing of a cow.
The tableau turns to still-life;
Time is rendered dumb, a nullity.
I'm granted a reprieve from man's incessant bustle,
his heedless to-ing and fro-ing,
the human futility of getting and spending.

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Paul Mann

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