Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Three Sonnets in Paint

Of course pigment and its forms cannot translate to word.  Paintings must be seen not heard.  Though we cannot speak paintings, we can, speak about paintings.  Thus, I share three sonnets where I try to speak about three paintings.  I picked these three paintings because they themselves seemed to try the reverse impossibility I note.  They try to be sonnets in paint.

1-Whistler’s Symphony In White

Embellished in the purity of fair
Folds, virtue’s marble blossom in her hands,
A white façade in right demeanor stands
On an eviscerated feral bear
Whose lifeless mouth lies in its pseudo roar
Of untamed, unconverted life.  A bloom
Dropped on that grizzly fur that rugs a room
Goes almost unobserved among a more
Impressive floral pattered rug.  What’s right
In fact?  The painted buds?  The creature that
Has spread a being as a surplus throw
Upon a floor already rugged?  Or might
It be the beast despite its mouth and eyes
Suggesting life where only carnage lies?

2- Turner’s Approach To Venice

What inference do we draw about a Sun
That never tries the night though weaker Moon
Swings both ways rising up before day’s done
As readily as at night?  One might soon
Conclude the frailer orb the braver or
The more inquisitive, industrious
Could such bold reasoning somehow ignore
The damage to the language.  It can’t.  Thus,
One says it’s not the Sun but is the night
That flees the Sun, that logic by some sleight
Has cleaved the two.  Where Sun is day is, too--
One’s words demand that Sun could never do
As moon.  Obedient, the Sun retires
So mind might have those shadows it requires.

3-Boudin’s Beach At Villerville

They prop their little world upon the sand
With axis uninclined.  Erect they stand
(Or sit unslouching) as their rules demand
For such an upright orb no forward hand
Dare spin.  From there they fix their glance beyond
That upright sphere in some astronomy
Of distant clouds in ethers that abscond
Some yellow planet and a galaxy
Of salt suspended in geometry
Their Newton might “decipher,” too, should he
Desire.   Where pretense meets the chaos sea
And clouds may wreak at will, unwillingly
The dog holds back.  When he must correspond
With separate spheres at once, how else respond?

© Harold Anthony Lloyd 2016

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