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On Seeing Hopper’s Rooms by the Sea

by Anna Lewis

Between inside and out, a cool, gray wall.
A polygon of light through open door.
A settee, red. A carpet, green. The hall,
a yellow passage not to sandy shore
but hard to some blue sea, below. That’s all.
No action here. Just color, shape, and light.
No saints in gold-leaf haloes to adore.
But, as you almost pass it, left to right,
I see you pause before its either/or:
the calm suspension, here, right now, of white
as light through cool, gray rooms conducts its fall;
or, there, beyond, a square of blue, the sight
of lustrous sky and ocean. Still, you stall. 
You stand before the brink, its unseen height.

Anna Lewis studied literature at Rutgers, the Sorbonne, and Yale. Her poems have appeared in Think Journal and Tilt-A-Whirl. Having recently moved from New York, she now lives in Durham, North Carolina.

From Edward Hopper’s Artist’s Ledger
Published 23 August 2011