In Puvis de Chavannes, the figures posed
along the landscape are other landscapes,
places we have been or mean to be,
(though their combined horizon stretches farther
than a man can see at one time--or in one lifetime).
The amphora poised on the slenderest shoulder
is how everything is balanced: the sky
supported by the columns of trees, the earth
suspended from their shade, and between the two,
the overall lavender and well-kept greenery.
No one can move without the river overflowing
or the pear dropping from the baby's reach.
Even we must stand this far away,
squinting from the other side of the stream
or into the stream itself. What do we see
reflected if not ourselves, posed there
a moment, before moving toward the next?