Tuesday, December 15, 2015

"View of Delft" by Carol Ann Davis

View of Delft

The human figures
seem to match in vacancy
the waiting boat,
its scrubbed planks and face.

Like an afterthought, the water
cuts through the picture below-meridian,
shines at a slant like a knife on a cutting board—

     from this view,
one can guess how the customs house door
arches into total darkness, which is to say
fine buildings are reflected
in the brown water, nothing more
than a shallow swath
catching imaginary light
from the sky;

                      the city floats
between this water
and insubstantial heaven,
the water, between blue shingles of castle
and two nuns—
one thin, one round—
their habits set
against the weight
and business of the wharf,
they must think:
what we are God is not.
Detail on the steeples.
God is not.  Perfect angles.

Source of the text – Carol Ann Davis, Psalm.  Dorset, VT: Tupelo Press, 2007, p. 18.

TJB: Disagree those are nuns or that heaven’s insubstantial. Otherwise, this poem describes some of what’s visible or implied in the masterpiece.

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