Saturday, 31 May 2008

Portrait of Anna Akhmatova, 1915 after Natay Altman

The poet sits in a chair,
(a study in geometry)
slightly reclined, her back rigid,
one foot resting on a wooden step
the other hanging from where her right leg crosses
the left at the knee.
She is a lightning bolt draped in a Prussian blue dress
(its neckline plunging to a V across her flat chest)
and wrapped in a golden scarf wound around her arm,
bent at a right-angle.
In the background –
a cubist garden of multi-faceted crystalline excrescences
echoed by
her hooked nose,
sharp chin,
smooth cheekbones
and incisive clavicles.
Her flesh is coloured like alabaster,
framed by a straight fringe of black hair
tied back tightly.
An amalgamation of planes and angles,
yet the painting hinges on her left shoulder's
near-spherical appearance –
a moon around which we all revolve.

© GB 2008

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