Tessa, We’re North of River Oise


Camille Pissarro, The Côte des Bœufs at L’Hermitage (1877)

Away in these woods we’re shrouded
in trees. You’d think there’s nothing
uproarious about being there but
you would be wrong. Nature being
seemingly disordered as a matrix
but again you would be wrong.

What are we here to appease?
Something trite like walking out
for groceries and detergent? Ferreting
out wild mushrooms? Your guess would
be as good as mine. Whatever it was
there’s a touching innocence to it.

Wherever we are the days would be
sluggish sometimes. Like this one.
When night came you’d see the planets
and glittering stars and you’d be
somehow appeased. You’d pucker up to
a capering lover too, dear reader.

Prompt: Camille Pissarro, a Dutch-French painter, painted the rolling hills of the close-by neighbourhood of L’Hermitage when he stayed at Pontoise. The Côte des Bœufs (‘cattle ridge’) is a steep hill face just north of the River Oise. As an Impressionist, he often painted plein air and at this location he had painted scenes on five occasions in three different decades. He had shown his work at all eight Paris Impressionist exhibitions, from 1874 to 1886. This painting hung in his bedroom for many years. The artist, Walter Sickert, had said of it: “But the charm of a picture like this lies chiefly in its immense and indefatigable laboriousness, in labour so cunning, so swift and so patient, that the more it is piled up, the greater the clarity and simplicity of the result.”


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