Oil painting

Jacob watched the water tumble and fall and crash.
Wild, icy swell collides against glacial detritus,
Crushing the riverbed and rushing the bridgehead.

Jacob closed his eyes and listened to the cacophony.
Surging liquid commotion writhing in a rush,
Heading inexorably gulfstream, spreading out downstream.

The quality of light as it jostles with the foam
A picture in his head of the beauty of the river.
Water molecules doing backstroke, translated by a brushstroke.

Jacob opens his eyes and stares at the bank canvas,
The photograph relocated in his mind’s eye.
The curl of the palette knife, the swirl of our real life.

And layer by layer the painting emerges painfully slowly.
Captured on linen a hundred miles from its source.
Dry to the touch, fat over lean, Jacob lovingly recreates the scene.

The grey of the bridge and the pinks of the stones,
Light and movement trapped for eternity on the cloth.
Jacob wipes away the varnish, an oil painting without tarnish.

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