Sunday, May 13, 2012

Symphony in White by Bob Atkinson


Symphony in White

(c)2012 Bob Atkinson

she stood there not moving
so pensive in that strange way
not given to her usual disposition
with upset, hard and angry rage

no telling why she did this
simply wasn't in her makeup
to go along without complaint
could be seen as a big shakeup

perhaps she liked the dress
perhaps had chosen it herself
white cloth and lace attire
was sewn with lacy cuffs

painting carried an aura
a life fully all its own
rejected by the Academie
and too, rejected by the Salon

entered at last in Edouard's show
the one with noses thumbed
at the fixed establishment
by upstarts who carried on and on

with pleasantries on the surface
objectives hidden down below
to progress art beyond mundane
discarding traditional forms of old

backward institutions panned
fine art with pedigree abused
caved in not so easily these men
who openly changed art's mood

rejected fully the establishment
those learned men of power
who kept deliberations to themselves
not sharing decisions with the others

the young who looked for leadership
which way was art to go?
should they carry on as always?
or make it nouvelle forme?

some defied conventional wisdom
with wisdom of their own creation
setting forth new standards
gathering those old men's alienation

no hot air they did blow
they knew it would be loved
this form of painted scenes
with new techniques of brush

protecting the name of art
the old men didn't move
progress not their goal for portraits
renaissance their preferred mood

openly pompous shows presented
only that which tradition loved
but left desire in young hearts
for changes with their names above

Whistler had done her proud
she said when asked of her
he'd painted what she'd wanted
an edge of their bedroom scene

with floor of blue and green
bear skin rug, a soft brown fur
walls of white cloth blowing
gently from the outside inward

because of Edwin's scandal
wasn't Jame's fault, you know
the painting became rejected fully
not to be shown publicly at all

then the Salon of Losers
allowed this good work a position
humble beginnings surely made
for this priceless oil's evolution

Manet's thumb to his nose
at the stuffed establishment's ear
took it to the heart and gave
prominence to its form that year

a place for it to show
more favored by the crowds
who looked to see what these
upstarts had created now

Emile had written about it
Gustave and Baudelaire too
thought it wonderful in form
both moved by its simple beauty

over and above its form
a magnet for the written word
that simple portrait of a woman
showed her quiet and undisturbed

many since tried to tell the story
how this piece was conceived
you now know in all sincerity
was only to keep domestic peace

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