Oh Whistler, I’ll Come to You My Lad

O Whistler, I’ll come to ye my lad;
Not for you exiled-American-in-Europe charm,
Or your art-for-art’s-sake attitudes,
Or your use of musical labels on your paintings,
Or your disputatious tendencies with foe and friend alike.
(Mind you, Ruskin deserved the libel suit that netted you a farthing;
A coxcomb flinging a paint pot in the public’s face, indeed!)

The canvas he attached was Nocturne in Black and Gold,
A Falling Rocket that sparked verbal pyrotechnics in its wake.
But it’s to another Nocturne I turn: mysterious, elegiac,
A dark embodiment of a Chopin or Debussy melody.
I could lose myself in the crepuscule obscure,
Feel the salt and fog from the murky river
Clutch the throat, as I look across the Thames
And wonder at the potency of the nebulous.

Lesley Duncan