In the Gallery Room


Love divides love. And so, my son,
You choose the happy Dell
By Constable, a wading cow,
Silvered tree, a stag, old footbridge
Where you want, you say, "to wade
And take a nap."
After a hundred years this scene
Is fine and cold
On your naked, Brancusian feet.
Your favorite painter, you say,
Is John Constable.
But I choose Low Ebb,
In dun and lead, with heavy
Heart choose that–where Gustave
Courbet shows folks in fog
Just barely making it,
The storm about to close
Upon them, making sea's mean
Waves and sky all one.
And that is what you save me from–
By saying there too
You'd like
"To wade and take a nap."


David Ray, Music of Time: Selected & New Poems, The Backwaters Press, 2006.