Mauve ‘Fauve’

André Derain, 1905, Le séchage des voiles (The Drying Sails), oil on canvas, 82 x 101 cm, Pushkin Museum, Moscow. Exhibited at the 1905 Salon d'Automne.
André Derain, 1905, Le séchage des voiles (The Drying Sails), oil on canvas, 82 x 101 cm, Pushkin Museum, Moscow. Exhibited at the 1905 Salon d’Automne.

16 November 2016

All that afternoon
as the ship hugged the shore,
I was reminded of man
before the oceans were charted.
For the edges of the oceans
were once thought to drop off
into an abyss from which
there was no returning.

The ship hugged the shore
for the purpose of our seeing
the sites. Starboard lay
spread the aquamarine sheet
of silk as far as the translucent
blue sky, curving
to touch the ocean,
the navy blue hull of the ship,
jet to the eye,
next two such soft shades
of blue.  But because I was
in a fauve mood, I made
the ship’s hull the red of cranberry,
the ocean, purple, sky, mauve.
I was channeling Derain.
I relished the beauty of what
I was seeing with my eyes.
Yet my mind’s eye insisted
on seeing with a depth
entirely different.

The sites ashore lay
fundamentally white
atop a burnt brown ground.
I thought tobacco.
I thought my Grandfather’s pipe.
The air was suddenly scented
sweet with the smoke of apple
from my boyhood summers
at my Grandparent’s house.

I was transported there
where I stood aship,
the horn of which blew
and brought me crashing back,
pressing me against the railing.

I ached
at the passage
of time.

Philip Kuepper
(7 November 2016)

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