Unfinished Portrait of Cezanne

Unfinished Portrait of Cezanne

Cezanne painted portraits,
not just fruit on a table,
hills, green and yellow,
trees, light from a window.
There he is on canvas,
a young man with a moustache.
Now see him older,
sat with bowler hat and beard.
Nowadays people take selfies,
but his work needed no camera.
He learned from the masters,
studied them in galleries,
took a carriage down to the river,
conversed on art and literature
with his friend, Emile Zola.
He painted his relations,
friends and strangers.
See the woman in the red dress,
his son as a child.
His wife, Madame Cezanne,
he tried to mirror,
over and over.
Each one of her portraits
unlike any other.
His brush strokes were tender,
as when he attempted to capture
the essence of apples, wood and flowers.
Obediently, she posed for him.
She lived with him in Paris.
She left him to his work.
He worked alone for hours.
Look, there is his father,
secure in his wealth,
sat on a chair,
keeping an eye on politics and business,
reading a newspaper,
lying on his lap,
stretched out by his hands.
He ate well, he wrote,
in his last letters,
but could not bear the heat of summer,
from noon to early evening,
it was too hot to paint,
and when the sky was grey and cloudy,
there was no light,
then nature seemed ugly.
He did not pine to be younger,
but wished he was stronger.
He knew like any other
one day he must surrender
to the shadow that stood in the doorway,
waited in the corner.
His final portrait,
he meant to complete it later.
His studio silent,
he was not there
to lift his palette,
hold his brushes,
to finish his impression.
His spirit speaks in his letters,
his works on canvas,
he left behind him.
His name here forever,
his signature on the stream
that flows over wood and paper.

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