13 June 2013

Poetry Thursday - "Nude descending a staircase"

"Nude Descending a Staircase" 
X. J. Kennedy (1961)

Toe upon toe, a snowing flesh,
A gold of lemon, root and rind,
She sifts in sunlight down the stairs
With nothing on. Nor on her mind. 

We spy beneath the banister
A constant thresh of thigh on thigh--
Her lips imprint the swinging air
That parts to let her parts go by. 

One-woman waterfall, she wears
Her slow descent like a long cape
And pausing, on the final stair
Collects her motions into shape. 

This is an example of ekphrastic poetry - a poem that comments on another art form (usually painting, sometimes music). This site has collected many, displayed with their sources. Reading them is an education in how to look poetically at paintings. The poems include U.A.Fanthorpe's riff on Uccello's St George and the Dragon, and Wallace Stevens' "The Man with the Blue Guitar", referring to a Picasso painting.

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