Symphony in White
Whistler painted the woman in white standing on a wolf rug,
off-white curtain with folds mimicking her dress,
his whites are there but not quite there, lost by light
brown fur. He picked out textures, contours, nuances,
and traced the wonders of this colour. He celebrated
how white hides, or hatches into a miracle.
Accused of creating a painting without a story
his painting was banished to the Salon des Refusés,
a sanctuary for misunderstood art,
a home for a forgettable colour and for struggling artists.
Whistler knew how white hides, how it fills gaps
where no colour wants to be,
white shapes our world
with the curve of a wave, ice geometry,
and spiral cloud.
White smudges into reds and blues
softens into baby pinks and pastel blues.
White, as undervalued as toothpaste,
froth on a cappuccino,
the Holy Ghost.
White as forgettable as
a mother’s milk.
Maria Roe is a poet, short fiction writer, and an artist. She lives in Dorset, UK. Her work was published in the Bath International Short Story anthology, highly commended in the AUB International Poetry competition and she is longlisted in the Yeovil Literary Prize (Poetry) 2023.
The Ekphrastic Review
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