On Paint-pot Flinging


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Brown and Gold, J.A.M.Whistler

His paint-pot, its crude oil
flung on golden skin
(that topped the dark garb
of elegance
fronting mid-brown grounds).
So, once, said Ruskin.

He had a big mahogany table to work
and prep his palette, tone by jigsaw tone.
He used a house-brush called Matthew

to sweep restraint out, onto taut canvas.
Long-handled brushes, that kept him a distance,
like cigarette-holders
fully loaded, brightening by the hour.

His interiors caught a four a.m. In the soul
a dark dawn that struggled to stay unlit,
for the quietened night of us to sleep as is

refusing the move to morning.
A reluctance in the walls, in some vague house.
The days progress sharpened by his fog.
Nothing casual for the eye that wants to see

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11 thoughts on “On Paint-pot Flinging

  1. His interiors caught a four a.m. In the soul
    a dark dawn that struggled to stay unlit

    ha i really like how you describe that dark tea time of the soul there…nice capture of character in this…

  2. I really enjoyed this! Loved the “Long-handled brushes, that kept him distance, like cigarette-holders fully loaded, brightening by the hour” and “a dark dawn that struggled to stay unlit” Wonderful poem.

  3. I love Whistler’s works. I’ve never seen the Peacock Room but when I go to DC I’m going to. Just watched the Lily Langtry series. If he was truthfully portrayed in it, I think I’d have fallen for him head over lampshade, for sure! Loved this poem – it catches his American in London expansiveness!

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