Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 23 . . .

The Meantime

     by Noelle Leslie dela Cruz
     art: Claude Monet’s “Impression, sunrise.” 1872. Oil on canvas. Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris, France.

When night’s retreating hair

slipped through the love-damp fingers

of dawn, you knew you wanted

to be a recorder of nuance, as when Monet,

looking out his window, committed the moment

to orange. You wanted proof

of how one tint bleeds into another

but the brushstrokes are jarring

the way someone leaves in the middle of a lecture,

reverie ends with the sound of clapping

and pigeons are startled into flight. You see,

abruptness is the illusion. If you look hard enough,

you can imagine the bridge where then

becomes now. For example when you notice

the season has turned, or the coffee has cooled.

Revenge of the forgotten, you think, or whatever

is missed when you are absorbed in one thing.

When Monet painted the sunrise,

he wasn’t thinking of sunset, slices of time when light

is identical. He wanted water and shipyard emerging

from the mist, expecting the inevitable. Meanwhile

ambiguity stole in, the way a word is not what it is

and you wonder at the meaning of applause.

Agreement or relief. Love or fear. Beginning or end.

All there is is an impression of in-between.


Noelle Leslie dela Cruz is an associate professor at De La Salle University in Manila, where she received a Ph.D. in philosophy. She is currently working on an MFA. in creative writing, focusing on poetry. She has a great passion for books, seaside sunsets, deep connections, a golden retriever named Max, and plane rides. She usually divides her year between Manila, Dumaguete City, and New Jersey, USA, where her parents live. In 2008, she was a writing fellow in the National Writers Workshop in Silliman University, Dumaguete. Her poems have garnered first and third places, respectively, in the Philippines Free Press Literary Awards (2009) and the DLSU Literary Awards (2000).


© 2011 Noelle Leslie dela Cruz