AUTUMN IN MAGNOLIA
by William Doreski
William Morris Hunt ate clouds
the way others eat the pages
of Henry James or Thomas Hardy.
A savage transparence lingers,
shaped like a stubbed-out cigar.
You canít believe how stoically
Iíve gazed into this space, how sere
my effect has become. Autumn
in Magnolia, the stone coast
heaving, the tides more arrogant
than the plainest understanding.
Hunt painted here while great wars
savaged nether regions
of Europe and Asia, no one
in his circle much concerned
except for the fate of relics
and the disruption of ateliers
where he and friends had studied.
Now you dawdle as the shore
crumples like a brown wrapper.
You want me to lower my gaze
to focus on your struck pose.
You want the plainest understanding
to enter your wide-open pores
and cleanse forever your complexion.
Magnoliaís the place for that.
It has survived the most dated
styles of art, has priced itself
beyond the reach of the hoi polloi,
and still has energy to browbeat
the sea into uneasy truce.
The transparence imposed by Hunt
looks more dangerous than it is.
I wonít topple into it —
and if I did Iíd rise laughing,
maybe draped with rockweed
but owing nothing to painters
or those long-winded novelists
you so enjoy taking to bed.
Copyright © 2016 by William Doreski.