Renoir piles his oils to record this moment
of joy and the eternal youth of his friends
at lunch in Maison Fournaise today.
Gaze at this pre-Elaine’s group: his girlfriend
and her dog, a rich collector, Italian journalist,
fellow painter, three actresses, ex-mayor of Saigon,
writer, critic, owner’s son and daughter
He makes the scene work sans flashbulbs:
Sunlight cuts through the opening
on the balcony and caroms off the table cloth
and shirts of the two men closets to us.
Having no Wii, he delights in games of the eye,
one-upping degas as he captures
the dance of the glance, guides us on
a dazzling tour of flirtation around the painting.
Behind the winks ins unblinking belief,
Beneath the pleasure is principle:
Renoir’s tableau trumpets achievement
Of the French revolution’s promise.
After Renoir, The Luncheon of the Boating Party.
Lee Marc Stein recently published a collection of ekphrastic poems in the book, “Whispers in the Gallery.” He’ll talk about his book at the Book Revue in Huntington at 7pm, on Oct. 6.