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About this Poem 

“The Whistler painting Sea and Rain is in the University of Michigan’s art museum. There is a small unfinished person in the left foreground who gives the scene context. Otherwise it is a color abstraction. I have seen a dancer on the shores of Lake Michigan who also could focus attention.”

—Keith Taylor

Sea and Rain: Lake Michigan

Keith Taylor

after James McNeill Whistler, 1865

There is a dance at water’s edge,
a movement between the lake, its sand
and the horizon where lake becomes cloud.

Between those lines our world’s
a thin wash of muted tones, beige
and gray with a hint of white,

almost abstract, until the dancer
steps out into the pool.
She makes the whole thing real.

Copyright @ 2014 by Keith Taylor. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on May 19, 2014.

Copyright @ 2014 by Keith Taylor. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on May 19, 2014.

Keith Taylor

Keith Taylor is the author of several books of poetry, including Marginalia for a Natural History (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), If the World Becomes so Bright (Wayne State University Press, 2009), and Guilty at the Rapture (Hanging Loose Press, 2006). He teaches at the University of Michigan and is the poetry editor of Michigan Quarterly Review. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.