The Red Studio (Matisse)
A dream room or a memory box? Possibly.
Or the way the mind might order its better names.
The pulsing heart, collected idees fixes of me,
Clutters its floor and walls with furniture and frames.
A room for work, the usual imagery --
Nudes, a clock, flowers, a wineglass and chair --
Abounds, transformed into the exotic and rare.
A genie's black bottle spouts dancing blue roses.
Each painted, sketched or sculpted nude poses
A challenge to what real nudity exposes.
In the studio all things are outlined in white
Or pink. A red table or urn casts no shadow,
As though blood has burned away wasted sight,
And left only essence, a fixed and edgeless glow.
Plum Tree (Kanō Sanraku)
His parents arguing in the bedroom,
Though no words are clear, their hatred
Is the coldest voice any child can hear.
Against his father's potent boom,
He erects four sliding doors from his dread,
Imagining plum trees with faded, sere
Blossoms. He prays for them to go to bed.
Years later he paints the doors in flaked gold --
The tree bearing sparse, meager blooms;
Its shattered trunk many hundred years old --
And installs them in his bridal bedroom,
Facing in; then he adds a mockingbird
On the last, least limb, to remind the groom
He must never repeat what he once heard.