Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (John Singer Sargent), Sonnet #183

As hard as he tries, Sargent can't make young girls real.
Portraits are problematic, distilling character
Down to a composition of static features,
Like stamping cooling wax with a family seal.
Each child, even the toddler, becomes an actor
Without a thing to say, a staring, masked creature.
I imagine an Edward Boit extremely proud
To hang this painting in the family gallery
Amongst the ageless, stern, ancestral crowd,
Where daubs of paint limn, entombing, each memory.
I hope, as well, he was a man to kiss each child,
Carry her up to bed at night when she was small,
And listen to her fears and dreams, however wild,
And linger, seeing, loving, equally, them all.