Tea with Monet and Michelangelo
Girl Unfurled Two
Femme se Ouvrit II
Cantos 15-18: Giverny to Florence
Tea with Monet and Michelangelo
15. Quindici: Monet’s Poppies
Your orange red poppies called me.
Unexpected color and anticipated
years of waiting to see them and
here I was, with you, enjoying the day.
At the edge of your fields
standing where you stood
I could not help but ask you questions.
You were so kind to answer and
to show me where to put my brush.
Just here. Not there, here.
A poppy petal must be placed
quickly and without care
but with absolute attention.
Do you understand this?
Do not try to copy to the poppy
it is the impression which
will live on in your soul,
and in this painting of yours.
The artists who came with me,
they were talking with you too.
In flowing dresses and sunhats,
French easels perched at attention.
Your poppies danced for us
in the gentle winds of Giverny.
Red petals flying in our hair.
The whole world disappeared.
Then we became the world,
the other seeksers came
off the afternoon buses and photographed us in your field.
Our art became a part of your art
in the eyes of your other guests.
I promise we were kind to them,
encouraging them to take up the brush.
Thank you, for your intricate gardens,
your adored waterlilies in bloom and
Japanese bridges for gazing from.
It was so lovely of you
to let us spend the day with you.
16. Sedici: Your Yellow Kitchen
I sat down in your big bright open yellow kitchen
with blue plates and teacups and listened.
You were in the other room having
a conversation and didn’t notice
I had come in. I was trying to make
out your words, you were talking
about the artists you were collecting
these days. Their art was all over your
home and you loved this art-created life,
making beauty all around you.
The kitchen suddenly became a bustle,
there was to be a wedding in the garden
that evening. I wanted so much to
be the flower covered bride, of my groom
there in your trellises.
I hoped you would toast to our
life together in your Monet’s gardens.
They swooshed me out of the kitchen so
I rose up and peaked into your study.
There you were standing
looking out the window. Your stance
so sure, certain even, confident in your beingness and seeingness.
by paintings floor to ceiling. Yours.
The smoke from your pipe smelled
familiar, like home and father.
I just love you in that hat.
Later when my darling and I sat
speaking of the day he showed me
the poppy petals and rose petals
he pressed into our book of love.
I have decided.
I am going to paint my kitchen
that same color yellow of
your yellow kitchen.
Now off to Italy
17. Diciassette: Tea with Michelangelo
I came to your house yesterday.
I brought your favorite tea
and a color of pigment
I know you love, all the way from Paris.
I think you used this blue in the folds
the Madonna’s dress.
I looked for you there, patiently.
Waited for you in the courtyard
of your family. I thought I heard
your mother call to me from the
open window above. It was a dove.
My face turned to that opening
of sky where you sketched
those majestic clouds. I wanted
to take some home with me
and so I gathered a wisp of
white cloud into the hem
of my own blue dress
that I wore to meet you.
I knew you would understand,
this borrowing from God’s goodness.
I wanted to see David’s hand curled
and the veins in his arm pulsing. I came
to see the little baby God nursing
to see the Centaurs wrestling.
To see your desk, empty and expectant.
When I heard your cough,
the color blue in that room
entered just here, in my vein. Like David’s,
it pulses in me now.
I looked out through the open window
to the street below. Lingering on the sill,
was the dna of your elbow and forearm
still there beneath years of leanings out?
Seeing what you saw I chose art again.
In the end I chose not to disturb you.
You were bent over a drawing,
sienna red and sepia flying
from the end of your pencil
like small red birds into my heart.
18. Diciotto: Anatomy of Angels
They say you were difficult,
seeing what you saw,
how could a man be easy?
Poet, sculptor, painter, architect,
illustrator, dreamer, friend of beauty.
I know that God loved you.
Few have seen what you saw.
You even attempted to paint
God himself. And the woman,
there under God’s arm, watching
everything and everyone,
I pretend sometimes it is me.
Some say Eve, some say Sophia,
some say Shekinah, Mary, or Muse,
I say it is me
and every woman there
under the arm and rib of God
reaching for Adam’s hand.
As I crossed the road from
the doors of Casa Buonarroti
walking where you walked
on those same stones
I felt you rise up in a swirl
of light and I breathed into it.
We artists are a family
because we breath the same air.
This is the same air you breathed
as a young man with chisel in hand.
Knowing the image is already
in the stone.
Thank you for the anatomy of Angels
for what you did to find the
bones and flesh and bring
the Divine to life. Dissecting
there in the darkness of death
you gave life to us.
Taught us how to see
and to long for connection.
To reach for God’s hand
and to be a part of the story
of creation. You showed us this.
Shiloh Sophia – Tuscany July 8, 2013