Swallowtail: Third Tattersby

Posted by ractrose on 29 Dec 2018 in Art, Poems

Charcoal and pastel drawing of woman with marcelled hair and moustached man



The Folly








You’ve never sat, doing your work

…if you had been me, on a stool upstairs

Made dumb by the green walls of Lippard’s laboratory

Looking down, as directed, through the lens

at the wing he’d razored along the vein

Some of the colours are not pigments, you know

Only reflections of light

He hated girls to be romantic

Wanted me to note how thin the very eye

of an insect

Could be cut

Wanted me in a purely clinical sense

To pin the specimen, wearing magnifying goggles

With the scalpel’s point, slice the abdomen

I wouldn’t love the butterfly and make a life for it in fancy

Like a woman

I would understand

It was a creature of component parts

M. de Clieux, Miss Harvey says

I waited for him on the blanket

With the box lunch and my pocket sketchbook

You’ve never sat, doing your work…

And felt uprising mark you

A flying squadron circle you, the enemy

Hem you round, knock you in the eye

Drop into your tea, buzz with a chill obscenity

Fall into your bodice

De Clieux feels this living woman, matter of fact in madness

Infects him, makes his intimate adulation of a ghost

as menacing as the insurgent swallowtail




Digital painting of young couple spectating at plane crash site

The Lay of the Land: Fourth Tattersby












(2017, Stephanie Foster)




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