Movement in Squares

Laura Bloomsbury at dVerse challenges us with “Poetics: The Poet as Painter”: She writes, “For those of you who like an extra challenge, then only after you have completed Part 1 [using only the title of one of the given paintings], look up the artwork link of your title choice and write a second part to your poem as ekphrastic.” The title and painting I chose: Bridget Riley’s “Movement in Squares.”


Movement in Squares

I’ve seen movement in squares
when no one’s looking:

peeling yellow edges, masks removed
the triangulation of centers multiplying
or rounding a buttery corn on a cob
a cluster of seedless green
glowing grapes sunlit
reifying corners into succulence
the pear juice piercing sweet
the sticky drippings of watermelon seeds
mathematical

Movement in Squares, 1961 - Bridget Riley
Movement in Squares, 1961 – Bridget Riley

I’ve seen movement in squares
when everyone’s looking:

until they march row after row
checkerboard cells of interlocking
black and white, marching in step
devolving, eliminating, disappearing
into folds of antiseptic non-existence
squares no longer, inching lines
rectangular, a comedy of illusion
designed to perpetrate a hoax
teleological

careful, my friend, around squares
there is no end of desire
finally

The Alchemist

I thought I’d write this quadrille (prompt word “magnet”) in anticipation of Halloween with its cornucopia of bat wings and eerie skeletal thrills. Quadrille Monday at dVerse limits each offering to 44 words, so be warned!

She walks in a drysalter’s den
wearing death, her subfusc,
scattering acedia’s magnetic coils,
like iron filings shot hard
against fate’s blind eyes,
their littoral currents crashing
against her noon day commerce
of herbs, bone dust, pharmacopeia,
against concinnity escaping
fruitless desire, skulking caitiff.

Read more quadrilles at Mr. Linky.

Lady Lavender in Extremis

Foxglove in a Washington, DC garden

She came sailing in —
foxgloves in murder digitalis
shape-shifters in book-covered heat
an Austen novel in her head
pharmacopœia of bottled lust
in everyone else’s closet Gothic
unholstered in a room of Macbeths
unshriven, exhumed desire
— sailing in, lighting torches
blanketed fire,
lavender swan.

Merril's Quadrille #113: "Blanket Us" for dVerse
A dVerse quadrille is a poem of exactly 44 words. 
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