what do you see

A shepherdess holding
with both hands a stick behind her back
looking back at you as if asking a question, a curiosity
then you see the young peasant girl in blue skirt,
black top and white scarf
you feel a melancholic power
like when you walk into the forest
with trees as tall as forever
or when you hear ancient songs
that rhyme with your breathing
before you go to sleep.

Step back and look again at the painting
a peasant girl holding a stick, holding it like a staff
her face in profile, her vision is faraway,
faraway in the field or in the constellations.

note: The I saw the painting: The Young Shepherdess by William Bouguereau at the Museum of Art in San Diego years ago. https://mydailyartdisplay.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/the-young-shepherdess-by-bouguereau-1885.jpg
The other painting: French Peasant Girl by Frederick Childe Hassam, I saw only recently in the internet:http://www.frederickhassam.org/French-Peasant-Girl.html

2 thoughts on “what do you see

    1. I was reading Ali Smith’s book, How to be both, and she writes: “the best thing about the turned back is the face you can’t see stays a secret…”. Suddenly I remember the painting of a girl which Mrs. Abstract and I saw many, many years ago in San Diego Museum of Art. I don’t remember the title so I looked it up. That how I found the other painting, The French Peasant Girl.
      The painting, The Young Shepherdess by Bouguereau, fascinated me since that first and only time I saw it.

      Like

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