On Seeing The Little Shepherdess
Swimming the glorious, noisy tides of
World Pride 2014, exultant in the
blooming of my long dormant femininity,
borne along by an electric current,
immersed in a supportive sea of
companion emergent chrysalids.
Perspective soon needed, floating off
to bathe in art’s calming waters and
breathe in the quiet of Toronto’s AGO;
approaching Paul Peel’s little nook,
like me a London, Ontario local,
best work done in exotic Paris,
taken so young, not yet thirty-two;
my ruminations interrupted,
flashing back twenty-seven years,
a special exhibit in our home town,
one painting that unfathomably wound
a tentacle around my heart.
And there, high up on a wall,
the screen of trees in the distance,
meadow sloping down and left
to a pond just in front,
lily pads and blue irises, attendant
blossoms to the little shepherdess
bursting from the background,
seated on a large rock,
her charges grazing amongst the trees,
crook, clothes and cares cast aside,
hair garlanded with delicate pink flowers,
skin glowing with expectation,
a demurely sensual and unveiled adolescent,
quietly bold, gazing at nature’s mirror
echoing her incipient beauty,
left foot curled shyly under,
right testing the pool awaiting her.
Awash in a wave of meaning, transfixed,
sinking down to contemplate this image done in oils
a century ago, but seeing my reflection.
Separated by decades in age from
the model posing outside for the first time,
this moment by more than one hundred years
from the young artist’s loving strokes,
his vision’s eternal youth from
my all-too-real aging flesh and blood;
but we three, model, vision and I,
still compeers, sister adventurers
setting out into a vast beckoning ocean.
Jennifer Wenn is a trans-identified writer and speaker from London, Ontario. Recently published is her first poetry chapbook, A Song of Milestones (Harmonia Press). She has published poems in Open Minds Quarterly, Tuck Magazine, Synaeresis, Big Pond Rumours, LOCP Fresh Voices, Wordsfestzine, and the anthology Things That Matter, and has written From Adversity to Accomplishment, a family and social history. She has also spoken at a wide variety of venues. Jennifer has a day job as a Systems Analyst at Canada Life and is the proud parent of two adult children.
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