A Painting By Titian (Exerpt)

and there is Diana, on a marble settee
weeping its salts into the pool
that dimly but wholly reflects their convocation,
The moon's horns in her hair like a comb, and she
looking none-too-pleased- and why should she
surprised in the bain by the stumbling-in of a fool,
or worse, from her point of view. Poor Acteon,
will no one speak for him? poor Acteon,
everything, of course, being point of view:
and admirable, anyway, for his buskins (?)
bright orange socks clumped below Boeotian calves
and bunched at the top of leathern sandals-
buskins equalling fallen socks plus leathern sandals.
With a gesture pictorial and theatrical (painterly license)
he flashes a high-five to the nymph behind the plinth
(of whom there are six (nymphs, not plinths, pay attention)
including the Nubian handmaiden, dusk-dark, she, who, in whom
empathy and shock contending, draws the linen scrim
over her modest mistresses' moon-bright bosom,
veiling it from the gaze of clumsy Acteon
(who probably ought to have kept his eyes chastely shut,
fallen to his knees and begged collective pardon
for his, say, inadvertancies- for reaping the boon of vision-
whose only crime, so far as I can tell, lay
in yielding to its bounties, its abundances)
While another paler version of herself
focused on her work, mindless of his entree
continues to dry the feet of her heavenly employer
intent on her job, as if nothing was happening;
another, leaning on her elbow, raises the corner
of the prettiest pink drapery ever slung to dry on a tree
used as a shield against the harsh, midday sun.
as good as says 'Who is this coof? Let's get rid of him,
to a brace of others, shielding their various parts
from mortal delectation, not knowing where to start.
Was it true modesty, false modesty or mere aggression
that bade them next do what we all know they did?
And Acteon, poor cuss, quiverful of unspent arrows
that shaking altogether, clamor pother-clatter
but dumbly, this being a canvas, after all,
with plenty enough to see but nothing to hear,
but with water-patter, fan of wan draperies,
rustling of trees, cooling breeze, mute shrieks
of indignation, crunch of gravel underfoot-
evoked by the sight of a fine scramble in the woods-
his best friend, soon to be his worst foe, the towering hound
crouched....

by Morgan Michaels

Comments (2)

Beautifully written - raw emotion flowing - thanks to LP for introducing me to another true legend
Insanity is the spice sprinkled over life to enhance its flavor. I believe Mr. Bukowski may have overdosed here.