Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Gustav Klimt (1862 – 1918)
Moving Water, 1898
o/c 20.75” x 26”
NY, Private Collection

The Moving Waters’ of Gustav Klimt

Who are they then
these women in this painting
seen so deeply long ago
Models he slept with
or lovers or others
he came upon
catching them as they were
back then
dreamt sleepers
on moving waters
eyes wide open
purple hair streaming
over alabaster bodies
in lavender currents

Dark skein of hair blown back
from a darkened face
an arm flung out
a mouth half open
a hand
cupping its own breast
rapt dreamers
or stoned realists
drifting motionless
lost sisters or
with themselves or others –
pale bodies wrapt
in the night of women
lapt in light
in ground swells of
dreamt desire
dreamt delight

Still strangers to us
yet not
in that first night
in which we lose ourselves

And know each other

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Who are we now?
New York, 1976, New Directions

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Mary Cassatt ( 1844 – 1926)
Baby Reaching for an Apple
1893 o/c
Virginia Museum of Fine Art
Richmond, Va.
Baby Reaching for an Apple

from an 1893 Mary Cassatt painting

Mother’s dress, while fashioned
with cinched waist and turn-of-the-century pleats,
allows her movement and is flesh
pink splashed with green and violet
like the swirl of lily pads
on dusty water
when the sun is not peevish
nor the water blue.

It’s perched at her waist,
stiff legs supported
by her cradled arm, while
the tree’s canopy of branches
crowns the baby’s head
making the sky entirely green.

She grasps a branch, pressing
it down as the baby pushes
on her stomach to reach
the apple
waiting above them both.
Their brown eyes ascend

Marcia Aldrich
The Greensboro Review
Winter 1988-89, Number 45
For more information on this paintiing:

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Duccio di Buoninsegna.
Rucellai Madonna. c. 1285. Tempera on wood. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy.
Deposited in the Church Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy.

The Duccio Madonnas

I have seen them, the Duccios,
hands long as ropes
thinning to conception.

Cooled, now, in the blue
introspection of fire,
frosted to lace,

they burn round a babe,
curve to the slack,
kneel to the Space,

and in the brief hollow
of self, stem
Time’s immolation.

Rosemary Thomas
Selected Poems of Rosemary Thomas
Intro. Mark van Doren
New York, 1968 Twayne

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Henri Rousseau, le Douanier
The Football Players, 1908
o/c 146cm x 97cm
Kunstmuseum Basel

(Henri Rousseau, 1908)

This was real immortality,
and it was different
from anything they'd ever contemplated (being
in general too busy for such flighty concepts). M. Hyères
had the shop to think of,
but secretly
he hoped perhaps he might die saving someone
on a picnic, if a boat should overturn. (Not Sophie,
though). Or something else as brave ... And Michelin
did not believe in immortality,
though he was very much afraid of worms,
and had some nightmares even Victorine,
with all that softness, could not dispel.
M. Simon
had been good a long time,
tired of it,
and now felt very well. Plenty of exercise,
that was the trick. And M. Barrès
anticipated a vague
garden reunion with Eulalie,
each of them being clad
decently in some sort of flowing white.
But, as I say, no one expected this:
The afternoon was wonderfully fine.
They ran and shouted in their striped suits; Hyères
and Simon, as was customary,
took on the other two,
and Hyères had the ball,
when it slipped suddenly into the air
above his outflung fingers
and stayed there.
Ha! cried Simon, running,
and raised his hands to laugh
at such a clumsy fellow, when he found
himself immobilized with smile and all;
even his running leg was running still.
Barrès was crouched to jump
like a striped tiger
with one arm outflung ---
he snatched a breath,
tipped on his toes
and stayed. Back of the three,
Michelin, alert and gently cynical,
leaned on one thigh
and braced his thin red legs
forever, it turned out.
And no one noticed the familiar trees
were suddenly
and stiffly
made of gold.

Deborah Austin
The Paradise of the World
University Park, Pa., 1964
The Pennsylvania State University.

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