Monday, June 08, 2015

The Wife of the Painter

She is turning toward you
against a dark background,
and a spray of flowers
near the garden window,
in a sunlit dress
of the bright eighteenth century,
light and cheerful and demurely
(her hand cupped as if beckoning)
as the enlightenment itself—
her face pale and quietly shining,
with its sweetly curved nose
and small lips that barely hide a little
pouty smile, tender and ironical—
as if she has just caught you staring at her
and is about to ask you, “So,
Mr. Ramsey,
am I about to become your next painting?”
And you are about to laugh out loud
and reach for your pencil
and say, “That’s it, that’s it, my darling! Don’t breathe, don’t move!”

And you didn’t move,
and the painting held you
like a lover
and carried you
like a child,
down the broken path
between the rose bushes
and the hawthorns,
and the darkening country lanes,
and the gathering seasons,
past the withered garden
and the bitterness of love
and the gravestone in the churchyard corner

to a far country
in the sea-blown light
under other suns
and other skies.


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