April 18, 2016

Ekphrastic Mondays #3

Today's oil painting by Frederick Childe Hassam is titled, "The Sea." At first I found it quite arresting, but the more I looked at it, the more uncomfortable it made me.

"The Sea" (1892), courtesy The Athenaeum.
How Art Works

The artist tempers lugubrious
blues with a zing of tangerine
and leaves the edges of
reality rough like a feral cat.

A cat that is fed only enough
to insure its continuing
assault on a city's rats.

We are discomforted,
yet we can't look away,
so we talk in terms of style
and the theory of color.

And we persist in ignoring
the secondary problem
of the city's dead sparrows.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.
I may have gone a bit overboard with the cat simile; it was partly as a result of reading articles on a rat problem in Chicago being kept under control by feral cats. Once I had the simile down on paper it seemed to make perfect sense to me in relation to the painting.

Only one more Monday left in April. Come back for the last in my National Poetry Month 2016 Ekphrastic Mondays series.

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