In the South of France

In a painting by Raoul Dufy,

one depicting the bay at Nice,

two slender palms tower over the scene

infused with variant blues, sand

in front, red-tiled houses on hills

behind; dinghies drawn up to the right.

The bay itself fills most of the picture,

some sort of pleasure palace rising

from it in pale yellows and greens;

a railing curves across from left

to right, and in the foreground a woman

in a yellow dress with washed-out

red parasol walks alone,

the only figure in the painting.

Who is she, and where’s she going?

Why is she unescorted,

in this place with no companion?

Has she chosen solitude,

or asserted independence?

Has she broken with a lover,

or been let down by a no-show?

One wants to ask her, “Will you lunch?

Or join me perhaps for a glass of wine?”

 

Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper

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