Prompts for RWJ, Prompt 171


Eduoard Manet, In the Conservatory (1879)

His perfume wafted near–you reckon this
will do, dear–oh a rogue scent it was!
In our air-cooled space, drifting over
like that, less brusque this afternoon.
Maybe the tide has turned; he grew tender,
even spontaneous. Orbiting, thick with
cigar, looking rather resplendent.

Suzanne wanted to pick out an outfit,
to go with her yellow hat–you reckon
she’d come by the house, play the piano
after all that “getting and spending”?
Jules, do you mean like the wind howling
through our greenhouse, “up-gathered
now like sleeping flowers”?

He looked askance. Who knows what roiled
below the far look, she leaning against
the bench’s arm in her grey pleated dress,
not a stitch out of place? And it would be
so, every plant, every blooming flower–
my soul’s flower–else if not, “for this,
for everything, we are out of tune.”

So July begins. And I’ve begun writing. This time I’ve written to another of Manet’s painting which has distinct similarities to the one posted yesterday. The two figures, the vertical bars, this time of a bench (as opposed to a fence), which segregate the two figures in terms of the space they occupy, and the two figures looking indirectly and not at each other. And this time I’ve quoted copiously from Shakespeare’s poem, The World Is Too Much With Us, referenced in the words in italics. So conjure up some dialogue based on a painting, this one or some other. And quote some Shakespeare if you like.

The painting is of Jules Guillemet and his wife in the conservatory of the painter Johann Georges Otto Rosen, who is Manet’s friend. The Guillemets owned a clothing shop.


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