Mending the Net

Poem by Anna M. Evans

Thomas Eakins,<i> Mending the Net</i>, 188

After Thomas Eakins, Mending the Net, 1881


The scene is mostly sky and grass, and yet

the eye leaps to the people on the hill,

bent at work upon the broken net,

painted so well the mind hurries to fill

the frozen frame with movement: busy hands

and shaking heads. The young girls skip and tease

as seabirds rise up from the unseen sands

and someone comes with lunch: beer, bread and cheese.


But if you look more carefully the sky

is colored an unlikely shade of blue—

not daylight bright but dusk, and this is why

the figures stand out. Thomas Eakins knew

to lie his way to truth. This works for art

and poetry. And matters of the heart.