Portrait of a Mystery

Monday Morning Musings:

Delaware River, West Deptford, NJ. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

My dreams–a language-storm of do,
or not,
I try to recall

and wonder who are you—
and which is me—
all is enigma and mystery,

like a portrait-sitter lost in time
sublime or shaded, half-smile, three-quarter face
a hint of her wishes, or the artist’s embrace

of unconscious desire, inspiration
in symbols of her worth, still in last laugh–
she gazes into the future,

Leonardo da Vinci, Lady with an Ermine

can she imagine
how she’ll be carted through wars, another spoil,
a wall-hung prize, monster-cherished–

the attraction of beauty to the beast—
opposites, and circles
of the sun and moon–

with light comes shadow,
honeyed joy and bitter sorrow
alternate—the universe’s tessellated patterns

Oak Tree Shadows

as time moves on. . .

Now, little bird
silent-sitter, waiting to strike–
living dinosaur, a portrait, too.

We finally have a beautiful day after days of oppressive heat, humid, and storms.

I just finished The Night Portrait, a novel by Laura Morelli. I enjoyed both the writing and the story. It takes place in the fifteenth century as Leonardo da Vinci is painting Cecilia Gallerani, then the young mistress of Ludovico Sforza, and during WWII as the Nazis and confiscated art, and the Monuments Men are trying to find the stolen art.

We watched an Icelandic series on Netflix called Katla. If you like dark brooding Scandi-noir mixed with a bit of the supernatural, you’ll like it. It reminded me a little bit of the German series Dark. It’s about a town, now nearly deserted because an underwater volcano has started erupting, and mysterious things begin happening. . .We were really intrigued by it and finished the series in a few nights.

We also watched the first episode of season 4 of Unforgotten (PBS). I’m excited that it’s back on.

37 thoughts on “Portrait of a Mystery

  1. Lovely poem, Merril, and your photos are beautiful. I love seeing the fungus among us 😉 … one nice thing about rain. It’s raining here. We’re settling in, I think, to typical summer weather: humid with afternoon thunderstorms. But I cannot complain. With all the fires out west, I appreciate every drop. Just wish I could make the rain go there.

    • Thank you, Marie. Yes, we always get lots of mushrooms and fungus here, as it tends to be humid. And that is an excellent perspective. Yes, I suppose I can put up with some rain, too.

  2. “Like a portrait sitter lost in time” immediately resonated as soon as I read the line. It’s an apt metaphor for how I feel sometimes. I’m glad you had a good day for your sky and river to pose for pictures.

  3. What an exquisite painting and it goes so well with your top photo. The humidity has really been unbearable. And I saw mushrooms growing too–so much wetness. The world is either too wet or too dry it seems. (K)

    • Thank you! It is an exquisite painting, and the history of it is interesting, too, as is the woman alleged to be the sitter.
      I remember there were tons of mushrooms last year, too, but these seemed more unusual.

  4. Wonderful musings, Merril.
    Your prose is poignant, and suits The Night Portrait, as you’ve described it.
    I think much art the nazis stole was painted by dar haired brown-eyed people.
    “Unforgotten”… I’ll check it out!
    We’ve been watching “Women Who Kill” series. It’s dark hmour and gets better with each episode.
    Huh, smoked mushrooms! 😀

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