(inspired by A Woman bathing in a stream, Rembrandt)
It was hot and the air hung too heavy.
He wanted to paint as he always did,
capture the light, hold shadows steady.
The day was moving slowly – dull, fetid,
languorous and thick with flies above mud.
I stood and walked into the sunlit river
to wash and let the cold refresh my blood,
feel a shock, that joyful icy quiver.
I watched small fish in shoals dart for cover
from me, the danger in their watery world.
I mused on escape and artful lovers,
how like paint water is when silt is stirred,
how anyone can make a picture lie
and would he catch the whiteness of my thigh.
Janet Harper is a poet who writes every day and often in collaboration with other poets and visual artists. She has trained in theatre and education. Her work as a teacher in adult and higher education has been all about words and meanings, inspiring a love of language and communication.