Nose knocked off, chin slightly
abraded, the flow of her robe stanched
mid-stream, plein air below the lap—
but the essence of her intact,
the essence

How alive she is, her neck so long
and strong, jawline lifting, a lilt
to her lips (though she’s part
of a grave marker), and an archetype more
than a portrait. Still, her shoulders are a certain woman’s,
her face one person’s.

The fingers of her hand curl
towards the jut of mouth/chin,
as if to help her to think, to remember,
in the way hands do. 

The blank eyes half look over at me,
feeling my stare,
but she is determined
not to be disturbed—to think, to remember—
yet even through that marble composure,
I feel her telegraph: “don’t you have something
you should be thinking about?”

I am embarrassed, not sure of what to say.
I look harder, knowing that she gives me something,
but I don’t know what
to call it.
It makes me come outside at last,
to sit myself in the plein air, the flow
of here and there, 
and, for a minute, to think
and not think,
to remember
and not remember,
and then, to smile, that smile in spite
of everything.  I can feel the lilt
in my own lips. 


A sort of draft poem for a Saturday morning, based on looking at a Greek sculpture, a marble stele (grave marker) from the 4th Century B.C.  A quick drawing of it above—doesn’t look Greek at all, I know!  But I don’t want to infringe copyrights!

Here’s a link to a photograph of the actual sculpture I’ve been looking at (thanks to Alice Schwarz, curator at the Met, and a co-teacher with Peter Hristoff of a drawing/art history course I am taking online at SVA.)

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