Today's poem is by Matthew Hittinger

This is Not About Pears

Cézanne was wrong, or rather correct
            in his error, error an hourglass crack
                        through which motion escapes, divides
            page center. Do I make his abstract
crevice too concrete? Formed by two

bulbous pear ends, proximity anchors
            composition, at least here's where
                        he draws my eye, intersects pencil line
            with pencil line until one edge opens
one edge. This is not a still life; still

lifes are rarely still. If motion escapes
            motion must exist, if not in the pears
                        (for this is not about pears) then perhaps
            outside the plate where the contours
of gathered drapery, organic fronds

blasts of black and blue highlight
            stillness, or rather, its erasure. If not
                        cloth, then mark the fronds' energy
            Cézanne's eye caught : object vibrations
rendered in hues at once complimentary

and contradictory to pear hues. Motion
            radiates, spirals off, escapes in chaos.
                        A curious form expands like calipers;
            river entering ocean, it is both exit
and entrance, the convergence of pure

violet line and periwinkle wash a road
            that disappears beneath plate, a bent
                        wishbone unbroken in the commotion.
            The pears—centered, harnessed—say no,
this is not about us, about how we

are represented. We could very well
            be apples, peaches, oranges, a flower,
                        guitar or vase. We are merely a study
            of groupings, the unstable motion
when objects approach touch. We are

watercolor, not oil; pencil and paper,
            not can vas
. Perhaps they do not know
                        of their contemporary, Pot of-Flowers
            and Pears
, where our three-quarter
view Anjou shares its pose with Bosc.

Which brings me to color. The pears
            reflect themselves onto a plate made
                        of semi-circular lines, brush takes
            tans, yellows, browns, muddies
them, makes squiggles to indicate

shade and shadow, plate rimmed
            with color, object reflecting objects.
                        Sienna, ocher pigments stroke pear
            bulge, hint of green where shadow
gathers thickest, muted, earthy

color bound by gray pencil marks,
            whole sections left white, not blank,
                        but the white where light lifts form
            into pears (even though this is not
about pears). As a document of the way

Cézanne saw, this work marks evolution :
            pears still bound by line, color still
                        within the line, yet the drapery looks
            forward, folds toward floating color,
its identity independent from the object.

Dissolved outlines form a scumbled
            crevice through which light escapes,
                        dissipates, reminding us of error's
            beauty, that this is not about pears,
most certainly not about pears.

Copyright © 2009 Matthew Hittinger All rights reserved
from Pear Slip
Spire Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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