Guest Poet Catherine Brown

Scene ii, Disguised as a Youth

My brother had a two-way look in his eyes
One lean hand on that apple tree
--I dare you wild, stop me--
But the smile said, "Can you Cath?"
"What about the costumes, Al?"
But he just balanced that glowing pumpkin 
On his knee, ready to climb
Everything was just blue
Except the harvest and the grown-up boy
The setting sun in one hand
Grasping the Tree of life with the other.
Here he stands in a pullover sweater.
His woolen scarf, ribbed like a snake,
Flows onto the canvas, and settles at his right
Into harmless Judaica. 
He leans forward and doesn't listen now
Mom is calling from the house
But he takes the tree, which dominates the foreground,
Firmly in hand.
Like some Medici princeling--.
--confident, bold, intrusive--
With his secret, knowing smile.

March, 2000

Catherine Brown's Questions:

Halloween, like all the other Hallmark rituals, is by definition silly. But the eerie fat pumpkin--I don't think I can do without.  The sun's radiation but with the color that comes from within the fruit. Should I leave the ocassion more open?

Am I banging the (cymbal)symbol over your heads? 

I don't have a brother, and the whole thing is a description of a painting by an artist who was never heard of since.  Subject matter too trite, perhaps.  But elements of the painting made me want to pull it out of the expensive book and mount it.  The facial expressions, ethereal blues illuminated by a... pumpkin!, and the masterful control the artist felt as a young man.

Thud, thud, trompling around Western Civ ethnicities, but I tried "Amorite", "Hittite" and the kid is just more Medici--though not Borgia.  So maybe I should say the same thing in a new way, right?  The Sabbath prayer shawl is stolen right out of the unknown Cabbalist's painting.  It's belly is as regular as the pumpkins ridges, endless umbilical reptiallain, but on the other side of the Gothic diptych made by the tree, it falls into pious drapery. 

The Albany Poetry Workshop