To John Singer Sargent, on El Jaleo, “Hurly Burly”
Installed at the end of the Gardner’s Spanish Cloister,
a mirror at right angles to it, the painting’s world is
a room we enter to find ourselves among the dance’s
spectators: the musicians seated against the back wall,
the three women, arms flung up – flamenco dancers
too? – and in a dark corner, the small boy (or dwarf?)
clapping las palmas, rhythm syncopated with the guitar.
It’s easy to imagine ourselves as these extras in the scene.
But not as those other two figures: the foreground dancer
whose body’s improbable angles spell a geometry of
daring, and the musician, closest to her, dead centre,
head thrown back in throes of drink or ecstasy. In these
two, each a consciousness overwhelmed by the music,
by the dance, by El Jaleo, did you imagine yourself?
Sandra Kohler is a poet and teacher. Her third collection of poems, Improbable Music, (Word Press)
appeared in May, 2011. Earlier collections are The Country of Women (Calyx, 1995) and The Ceremonies of Longing, winner of the 2002 Associated Writing Programs Award Series in Poetry (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003). Her poems have appeared in journals, including The New Republic, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Prairie Schooner, and many others over the past 40 years.
The Ekphrastic Review
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