weekend-readsCatskill Mountain House (1824-1962)

Paula Bohince

In this rich and privileged
       light, in true
American light, where hung
       chandeliers, diamond dew-
drop earrings, stoles
       of perfume plundered
from the sex
       of animals,

one antique urge
       dovetails into another:
how to reconcile earth
       with progress; poverty
with the lust
       of imagination.

Where scat lies: a presidential
       bedroom;
the grand dining hall: iron
       and sepia plaques
depicting the grandeur become
       ghost,

government-burned,
       preserving
watery vistas the famous
       plein air painters
meant to see us
       through the centuries:

oil and water-
       colors for praising fowl,
the combed-through
       clouds, moss and egg-
shaded mountains.

       Historical,
those clouds, heading east
       in vast liaison
with train-made smoke, shrugging
       headlong
into our future, transient
       as anything
lived on a daredevil cliff.

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