Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bernard Henrie in Shampoo


This poem by Bernard Henrie is in the current issue of the online poetry journal Shampoo:


Chinese Movies (Part III)

Chen paints with her face held
very close to the canvas,
like a woman at the mirror
with a contact lens.

Her eyes, purple as plums,
peer into her watercolor;
a fisherman seeking perch.

A Mandarin when she works,
her oversize smock and sleeves
look like petals. I expect rice fans
to appear for shade, gifts from
her village in rural China.

Once finished, she takes blossoms
from her work table to the garden
and decorates the birdbath. “The birds will drink
and see that their
love songs
have been answered.”

Her painting dry and bamboo
brushes wrapped, she prepares
to bathe, pausing to peel
a fat persimmon, the juice drips
and forms a glistening drop
on her gold thigh:

“Look, another water color.”

Bernard Henrie


Lovely, isn't it? Sensual, with colors, flavors, and shifting perspective. I like the fluidity of surfaces in this poem. The canvas is likened to a mirror, then to the surface of water. The water in the birdbath becomes Chen's next canvas; finally, her thigh becomes the surface for "another water color" when the persimmon juice drips.

This poem is full of liquid movement: the paint, the water in the birdbath and in her own bath, and the juice. Chen herself seems to flow from canvas to canvas, creating art both consciously and unintentionally.

11 comments:

Useless Man said...

Persimmon juice? Can you get that in concentrate?

Amy said...

Beats me, Useless. I'm not sure I've even eaten one before.

Martyn said...

Thanks for posting that. It's a portrait in miniature.

MB said...

This is all the more lovely for the way the poem becomes another luminous watercolor canvas on which the poet paints a fluid portrait of the artist. Form echoing form.

danny said...

This poem appeals to the senses, tangible yet metaphysical.

ericlow said...

hi amy, a dear friend of mine also appears in this issue, do check his poems out. his name is gaston ng.

T L Reynolds said...

This poem makes me thirsty for wine. It engages the senses. The image you chose for it is perfect as well.

Amy said...

Thanks for all the great comments, everybody. Crywolf, I will definitely check out your friend's work. Thanks!

GEL said...

Stunning poem!

mojave said...

talk about arriving fashionably late-----this is my poem, i'm bernard henrie.

loved the comments.

so many thanks to all.

did you know that there are other scenes in this marriage?

my favorite is when Chen leaves for a short business trip---the narrator husband gives nervous, urban advice---don't enter an elevator occupied by a lone male.

Chen looks back from the door of the small local airliner, calm and serene as a Princess speaking in the Forbidden City.


fun.

bernard henrie
Dec 2009

mojave said...

talk about arriving fashionably late-----this is my poem, i'm bernard henrie.

loved the comments.

so many thanks to all.

did you know that there are other scenes in this marriage?

my favorite is when Chen leaves for a short business trip---the narrator husband gives nervous, urban advice---don't enter an elevator occupied by a lone male.

Chen looks back from the door of the small local airliner, calm and serene as a Princess speaking in the Forbidden City.


fun.

bernard henrie
Dec 2009