Lynne Knight

Snow EffectsSnow Effects/Effets de Neige

Small Poetry Press (2008), with Nicole Courtet

“With genuine imaginative reach, a keen eye, and penetrating sensibilities, Knight enters fifteen Impressionist winterscapes and makes them her own, finding both beauty and insight along the way. Her explanations carry the authority of long contemplation . . . Each poem expands and liberates its image in this beautifully crafter, thoughtful, and inventive book.” —Jane Hirshfield



  after Sisley's Snow Effect at Argenteuil

There was more snow than usual
those winters, as if Nature had contrived
to complicate things for the painters,
confuse their eyes while they tried
to paint light becoming light
with the speed of the body becoming
lover—lifted from the ordinary
into radiant particles. How their bodies
must have ached as they waited
under swirling flakes to paint more
snow effects, sometimes the snow
itself, falling over trees, fields
that break down into brush strokes
when I move in close, until I can smell
the oils, feel how a body loses
heat. If I were Sisley, I'd have to stop
a minute, coax the cold from my fingers.
But I'd want to keep going. Love
cries are the same in any language.
Look: they break open like light, they go on
long after the body turns to winter.

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Il y avait plus de neige qu’à l’habitude
ces hivers-là, comme si Nature complotait
de compliquer la tâche des peintres
de brouiller leur vue tandis qu’ils essayaient
de peindre la lumière devenant lumière
à la vitesse du corps devenant
amant—élevé de l’ordinaire
en particules radieuses. Comme leur corps
devaient souffrir dans l’attente
de peindre, sous les flocons tourbillonnants,
encore d’autres effets de neige, parfois la neige
elle-même tombant sur les arbres, les champs
qui se désagrègent en touches de peinture
lorsque je m’approche, jusqu’à sentir
les huiles, sentir comment le corps perd
sa chaleur. Si j’étais Sisley, je ferais une pause
pour chasser le froid de mes doigts.
Mais je voudrais continuer. Les cris
d’amour sont les mêmes dans toutes les langues.
Regarde: ils éclatent comme la lumière, se prolongent
bien après que le corps hiverne.  

Translated by Nicole Courtet



Lynne Knight | The Language of Forgetting   Lynne Knight | The Persistence of Longing   Lynne Knight | Again   Lynne Knight | Night in the Shape of a Mirror   Lynne Knight | The Book of Common Betrayals   Lynne Knight | Dissolving Borders   Lynne Knight | Snow Effects/Effets de Neige   Lynne Knight | Defying the Flat Surface   Lynne Knight | Deer in Berkeley   I Know (Je sais) | Translated by Lynne Knight with the author Ito Naga