Three Women

Three women stand on a bridge
Watching water that doesn't flow.
Strange how the road bends
As if seen through a lens
Warped by the artist's temperament.

Why is it that some paintings
Draw our eye despite their flaws?
Why do I see Hopper's Gas in Munch's girls?
How does art repeat itself so beautifully?

Is there some limit to the amount we can see?
Do we feel some need to reduce everything to lines?
Does our mind prefer dark and light, red and white,
Primary colors fighting for space on a single plane?

Or are we more comfortable with the rich range
Of ochres and golds favored by the Flemish
Whose simple compositions of posed patricians
Go nicely with walnut paneling and tapestries?

Is it that the masters don't ask too much of us?
Or is the opposite the case?
Is there something in the butterfly flight of a single line
Or the weight we can feel in the pigments applied
That makes the subjects come to life and share with us
Their character, their burdens, their pain, their ennui.

I have given up trying to decide what art should be.
I have no interest in listening to what critics think.
I will stand in front of canvases and let them speak to me
In a silent eloquence that tells me everything at a glance
And yet engages me in a conversation that lasts
For as long as I am willing to participate.

by Suzanne Hayasaki

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