Art history has long been the focus of Coup De Dés- this blog. Today I have an entry that falls somewhere between art commentary/art history and poetry. My poem “Confidences (Secrets)” was recently published by the Ekphrastic Review, and I wanted to share it here.
Her dress is a pearl
A maze of grooves and sparkles
Shell and jewel
Chaim Victor Solomon
For those confused by my use of a different name, Chaim Victor Solomon is my Hebrew name and the name I most commonly go by these days. I’ve adopted it for my poetry career, as it’s the name I most commonly use anyway.
Ekphrastic verse is an art criticism in its own right. I’ve long practiced ekphrastic poetry, often exploring in lyric form reflections that I come away from a painting with. Sometimes I write an essay about what I see in a piece of art (and that’s what most of you on this site are here to do most of the time). Other times, I say what I need to say best in the form of poetry. This was one of those times.
I saw this work of Renoir at the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine this Summer. I was there for a wedding. My wife and I went to participate in the ceremony, and it indeed had its own romance for us as well. We need to go on vacations together more often.
My wife and I like to sit and read in the summer evening in the park along the river. We live a block away from Portland, Oregon’s Willamette River waterfront, and it’s there that we like to sit and read. We like to say that “we read until the sun is gone and we can’t read any further.” When we find ourselves squinting excessively, straining from word to word on the darkening page, we retire home.
Those moments with her by the river are precious to me. I saw something in this Renoir piece that reminded me of my affection for my wife. I look over occasionally and watch her as she contemplates the words on her page. She’s very intelligent, and very beautiful. She has that radiance and elegance that’s timeless. Unforgettable. And this painting evoked that for me.