Friday, August 15, 2008
This Poem is a fresh draft, still not completely tweaked, but here it is.
Fredrick William Burton’s “Meeting
on the Turret Stairs,” 1864
I wonder why they close their eyes.
He with lips pressed into the velvet
crease of her elbow
inhales deeply perhaps his last breath
with back hard against the stone
pillar covered head to tip of toe
in steel mesh and hide,
a contrast to the soft dense blue
of her gown and train
of cumbersome folds.
She faces the wall, chin turned down,
arm stretched across the chest of him
who is meant to save her from
war and rape and shame,
she more than image, thicker
than mist, holds him there
and he would fall
forward at any moment
if she were to disappear,
turn to memory or fog.
We have no evidence of tears,
not even a spot on canvas,
the only thing trailing or falling
is her long gold braid crossing
the back of a bodice,
but here he is crying into her arm,
the most intimate of meetings
in the midst of a history that will
forget them, turned to emblem and myth.
We blink and it is gone.