The Lady in the Painting
Malignity is absent here.
Raw materials breathe a mellow
insanity, but never fear.
On the contrary: they follow
laconically the colours pure,
minding only atmospheric
luxated lines in their demure
abdication of generic
intention. Overall, the mood,
intimate, conveys impressions
(emerging slowly from the dewed
nebulae of mild accretions
by glazing craftily obtained)
purposely reminding gazers
of visions from their youth unstained.
All you see, as sharp as razors--
because she knows the way by which
duller hues can contrasts render
besotting—is the beams that glitch
easy comfort whilst the splendour
you're wrapped in shakes you. Isn't she
little, standing in the middle,
between that old and twisted tree--
pondering facets of a riddle
recalling memories she fled
eagerly to dive in waters
obscure and filled with all the red
urges nurtured by our daughters
whenever they awoke—and this
cheerful, tall and bright old house where
none was supposed to grieve, where bliss
hardly leaves the place for elsewhere?
Remains of previous times don't leave
merely tracks and stains on canvas.
Observe the seasons: they reprieve
innocents alike and envious,
mellifluous scoundrels from the woes
lingering after the embrasement
and the embracement, and the throes
life, through the coming amazement,
is bringing with itself. Our child
is maintaining fragile balance.
Nonplussing whirls of paint beguiled
erring wanderers in the silence--
perhaps not silence, rather still
bits of life, remembered morsels
anonymously heaped until
otherwise blown—that ensorcells
deflated egos, humble wights.
By and by, the hours of winter
elapse together with the nights,
bartering the snow winds splinter,
long beating background hills, for chills
yellow dawns of springs forgotten
perchance will brighten. Warmth soon fills
beechy meadowlands, nook-shotten
ectopic groves in blossom where
ruthless birds of prey in hiding
unite and mate whilst they can bear
onwards as the day goes sliding.
Curvaceous fields in ranges stretch
westwards, blond vales with wheat pregnant
herefrom extending… Not a wretch
near the heiress standing regnant,
necrosis-free, will ever taste
heart-scald, loss and doubt. Redeeming
whoever, in a frenzied haste,
crosses her domain in dreaming,
orectic moods, she soothes the pangs
undeterred explorers bring to
realities in which time hangs
evermore heavier. They cling to
bewildered landscapes, not so still
pictured lives and vanities. Their
yokes and their shackles tamed their will,
lest these cold realities, their
belated lives one day be left
empty, desolate, and void of
bizarre, accepted slight—bereft,
destitute of filth, destroyed. Of
obliterating sprees that seize
Adamites, in shame rejecting
both roots and branches, leaving lees
plainly chaste, and sap deflecting
eloping mania to the wild,
netherwards—there's naught worth saying.
In times appointed, their defiled
innocence will stop decaying.
Long afternoons of summer pass
absently away. Our daughter's
lability's a looking-glass
mingling fires and lustral waters
in glebous magma and new forms
on the surface of her being.
Malignancy, through her, transforms
rust to light. As wisdom's freeing
her lips, her wordly gates unsealed,
now for all of us unveils the
cherished way out, the path concealed,
weft beneath the warp, and scales the
unvarnished paint won't hide. She sings
old, unheeded songs: an oral
ecbolic that delivers things
rampant with an anger aural.
Parhelic halos open skies
blankly void until old creatures
lasciviously crawl in, all eyes,
yearning power, control of nature's
effulging source which flows from here.
Beasts of prey, they hunt and feed on
debilitated hopes and sheer
blood—for her apostles bleed on
apocalyptic, cryptic glyphs
on the fabric kythed. The picture's
parerga will collapse. The gifts
bound to them—so many strictures,
narcotically induced—will fade.
Eerie comes the night's new winter.
In a day's year, time runs fast, made
in the dreamland of a painter.
All falls apart. She stands, her brush
lowered in midair, uncertain.
“Maybe I should this painting crush?
Leave it hid behind a curtain?
Obliterate it? Have it burnt?”
Icy voices from her artwork
remind her of the lesson learnt:
Marvel not at your own brushwork…
Romain P.-A. Delpeuch
This poem first appeared in the New English Review.
Author's note: "The Lady in the Painting" is the last chapter of a (so far unpublished) prosimetric novella, whose main character eventually becomes a painter. The poem is about her and one of her works. The painting it refers to is therefore completely imaginary.
Romain P.-A. Delpeuch was born and bred in southwest France, where he still lives. His poetry and short fiction have appeared, or are forthcoming, in New English Review and Terror House Magazine.
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