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Saturday, 27 August 2011

Living with a Masterpiece


Bought at auction
                 for the dining room's blank wall.
No human interest,
how  landscape looks without my glasses.


Not just the centre didn't hold
across the canvas nothing coalesced.
                                   Brush marks.
Buckets of them.
                Each one on the move towards the frame -
and to the space beyond the frame, it seemed to me.

The mountain that exploded in our dining room

the way my life disintegrated
                             right before my eyes.


Well, that was then.
Weeks later           half eaten pizza for comparison.
the canvas drawing inspiration from the plate.

Robbing pizza to pay wall      
                        inversing the proportion of the meal.
Chilies, pepperoni, peppers
mozzarella: raw materials for landscape.     I couldn't look.
                                                                                      
Sheer naked fear
of how the paint
could colonise a wall.

Perhaps it was the Chablis        even so

From that day on
                I ate in the conservatory
                                         every night
                                                    until

The dinner party night         the main course being served
through wine and candlelight I saw behind the brush strokes 
like sun behind a cloud
Cezanne's Mont Sainte-Victoire
                             shimmer into view.


Implosion in slow motion         particles of stone and leaf
slowly came together as I watched.
Like drifts of iron filings
they took their ordained places
in the force fields he had left

assembling the mountain, as I'd never seen before.


From that time on my life slipped back upon its even keel.
All things seemed integrated, structured and complete
until
     the ghastly news             the mountain was a fake.

My father's wealth was in those brush strokes - 
                                          and his health.
He died a broken man.

What price then, the truth that sets you free?


15 comments:

Jinksy said...

I copied and pasted the words onto a Notepad page, so I could read them, as they were so small, and was very glad I did! Loved these non fake words for a fake picture.
"Robbing pizza to pay wall"
is sheer genius! LOL

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes Dave I think one does often have a relationship with a picture like this one which varies from time to time according to onee's mood.

As to the poem I need time to digest it - and I do agree with Jinksy - it would be easier if the type was a little larger - do think of us oldies.

Dave King said...

Jinksy
Much thanks for that. Glad you liked it.
As to the font size, I did try everything I knew to improve it including the FONT SIZE tag, which Blogger kept changing to small for some reason. I have now tried it again and it seems to have survived. Hope it is better, it is the absolute best I can do, given the line lengths. I use two browsers - Google Chrome and Opera - it's fine on Opera, but too small on Google Chrome, so it is partly down to the browser settings. Thanks for pointing it out, though I did already suspect it might be a problem.

The Weaver of Grass
I will stay on the case (font size!) - see reply to Jinksy. I do try to think of US oldies! Thanks for your comments, I do think there might be some mileage in this relationship to a work of art question. It is well recognised, I think, where books and music are concerned, but not to the same extent in the visual arts.

TechnoBabe said...

A little time away from seeing the painting every day, a clear head, a different viewpoint. I particularly like the line "robbing pizza to pay wall". Nice play on words. Lots of fun in this writing.

Lolamouse said...

Dave,
Love this one! "Robbing pizza to pay wall" is, indeed, brilliant! I love how you mix fun and seriousness in one poem. Makes you ponder "What is art?" Who has the right to judge?

flaubert said...

Dave, I like the others love "Robbing pizza to pay wall" A lovely read.

Pamela

Windsmoke. said...

"Robbing pizza to pay wall" gets my vote too :-).

Mary said...

Dave, I think perhaps a little Chablis helps in interpretting art. LOL. I have visited the art museum in my hometown many times, wondered about some of these 'masterpieces' that I think I could have done myself.... Perhaps Chablis might help. Your poems of this kind really move me. I am wondering one thing, Dave. Was your father an artist? If so, have you any of his paintings on your wall?

Dave King said...

TechnoBabe
Thanks. Yes, it was fun writing it. Glad you liked it.

Lolamouse
Thanks for this most inspiring response. Yes, indeed, what is art? was what the poem was meant to be about. What is it, what effects can it have, if any? A common enough debate, but not often in verse.

flaubert
As always, a much appreciated comment. Thank you for it.

Windsmoke
I guess it gets the line of the poem award! Thanks for saying.

Mary
Thanks for your interesting - and ultimately moving - response. Much appreciated.
No, my dada was not an artist. He was a craftsman. In fact, he made golf clubs. He made them by hand, and later, when machines took over, he made the proto-types for the machines to copy.

kaykuala said...

Art that can mesmerize lingers on in memory. Your poem did the same. Great verse!

Dave King said...

kaykuala
Very generous of you to say so. thank you.

Mary said...

Dave, I came back to see your response.. Thanks for your answer. Ah, but craftsmen ARE artists as well, I think...but of a different kind!

Thanks for your much appreciated comment on the poem in my blog this morning.

Judith C Evans said...

"The mountain that exploded in our dining room" -- love this line. I lingered over this many-layered poem and read it several times. Fascinating how our relationship with a painting can change over time. Love it!

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Really loved this one!

Akeith Walters said...

My goodness, but what a brilliant piece of writing. I'm glad I stumbled across this.