February 27, 2024

‘Who Does He Think He Is?’

The Sun of Venice, Turner

 ‘Who Does He Think He Is?’

 O! A son of Albion gives birth to the sun of Venice

 And in doing so he gives heaven to the earth

Wielding brushes of both magic and menace

 But what are we presented with-really? that tiny tattoo on that sail

Amongst a rabble of scribbles and scrabbles

Spoken as a whisper-echoing as a wail

For the love of a wide eye and a dropped jaw

A servant to all he saw and a master of awe

 Scarred by the thunder of creativity and clouded with power

Heaving a palette like a mighty mallet

Delivering blow after blow- sour after sweet and sweet after sour

That stretches across the void between then and now

 To haunt our reason as our reason howls out ‘how?’

 And treason of the senses

 Bulldozes down previous boundaries-previous fences

Some may say it no longer holds any relevance but those of us who see with the heart know differently

And we wonder just how has relevance held on for this long?

And how can something so physically weak be so conceptually strong?

Why can I see so much in such a thing that at first appeared so bereft?

 And…what’s that?-just there- off to the left

A lilac blemish- a silhouette I will never forget

 A palace, which forms as mists

Built from storms that casually fell off his wrists

And all this in a droplet

That feels like we are drinking deep from a deep goblet

Of life and it’s light that nourishes those starved by the dark

A watercolour that defies and denies words as common as ‘water’ and ‘colour’

 As a smooth stroke but whose intoxicating influences smother

That hangs there as a skeleton of a sketch and yet gives off and gives out a full flash of fantastic flesh

Far greater than any bare bones

For this man becomes his art-he becomes this city-it’s canals channelled through his veins and his cracked skin it’s cracked stones

 He offers this- a lonely, little shining page

Our attention it demands- defiant it stands- and it commands with a delicate rage

Blessing this humble offering with a mystic laurel so sacred

Dressing it in an honesty so naked

 Yet it might as well be clothed in riches

 With pearls and worlds, folds of gold, flatten the satin over canvas,

Though long since I have departed- ever since it started its presence itches

At the back of my eyes and at the back of my mind

How can he reach me from there?-being buried and treasured whilst his treasure buries deeper and deeper into the landscape of my soul

Who is he to throw shadows of doubt over everything I once thought I had seen?

Who is he to drip a dream into the world and wash the world in a dream?

 A dream the size of a thorn but driven in like a lance

A dream the size of a scrap but it opens itself up as an expanse

Something, which by all rights should deserve a glance

But when all sights are cast upon it-it lulls them into a trance

Who does he think he is?

To simply do that and to simply do this

To cheat mother nature- to evade her and translate paper into trembling bliss

Who does he think he is?

He who turns heads

He who turns the tables

He who turns the tide

He who turns tricks in my mind

He who turns the screw of revolution

Why it is he of course- whose legacy-a river- runs breathlessly shattering other beauties on its shatteringly beautiful course

Whose flow will follow only one rule- the rule of only his own game

Who suspends suspense from a painted thread and it snaps every time anyone has ever said his name-


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