Sunday, February 04, 2007

326. Later - L. E. Sissman

Two last exhibits must be introduced
In evidence, if it please your honor. One,
Called "Two Comedians," painted at the end
Of Hopper's life, shows Pierrot, stage front,
Grim-lipped, in whiteface, presenting Pierrette
To an unseen audience; the figures are,
His wife said –– following his death and soon
Before her own –– intended to represent
The painter and his wife, Such comedy ––
So high as to be cosmic –– is perhaps
Played out in the second exhibit, "Sun
In an Empty Room," where the interiors
Of all his early years are fused in one
Apartment room movers have visited
With their pantechnicon of mise-en-scéne,
Taking away the givens of the past ––
Bed, rugs, lamps, people, papers, chiffoniers ––
And leaving a sizable memorial
To his life and to the state he lived it in:
A green tree blowing outside; streaming in
Through the two-light window, forming cream oblongs
On window wall and alcove wall and on
The bare wood floor, a shaft of morning sun
Peoples the vacuum with American light.

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