The Periodic Table of Poems: Renoir’s Hands

Renoir’s hands

Auguste Renoir (1841- 1919)

Veins deep run down the backs of hands, colors in the creases,
knuckles swell. A young Frenchman, Renoir painted porcelain
plates, figures, saucers and cups. Carefully, he stroked
with his strong, able hand. Replaced by mechanization,
he became a member of the academy. La Esmerelda was accepted
to the Paris Salon. On and on, he painted women, men, children.
At Fountainebleau en plein aire. Friend of Pissaro, Sisley, Monet,
he showed his work with the Impressionists before the First War.

I am blue, the color of icy shadow in the snow. In the past, I was glaze,
a filter to look through, blue filtering the blue. When no one is looking
I carefully stroke the hair of the women who sinter the colors. I touch
the tired hands of glass blowers. I blister and burn. I am ashamed
of my poison, sores, lesions, the deep blue knots of rheumatoid
arthritis. In old age, Renoir painted, his hands wrapped
in bandage to keep his skin from pulling off, paint brushes
taped to his hands. He could still paint my blue.


Created in a workshop at Spark Central, 2016, for the project, The Periodic Table of Poems.