Poetry Friday: “A Flower-Piece by Fantin”


Maybe it’s because I recently spent a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, soaking in the beauty of two millennia worth of collected treasures. Or maybe it’s because of Laura Shovan’s ditty challenge to write a persona poem. Whatever the reason, I’ve been thinking about art a lot lately. But because of the nature of teaching, life hasn’t allowed me more than snatches of stolen time to write.

I’ve also been reading in those stolen moments, and found this lovely little poem in Art and Artists: Poems (edited by Emily Fragos; Everyman’s Library Pocket Poems).

“A Flower-Piece by Fantin”
by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Heart’s ease or pansy, pleasure or thought,
Which would the picture give us of these?
Surely the heart that conceived it sought
Heart’s ease.

Surely be glad and divine degrees
The heart impelling the hand that wrought
Wrought comfort here for a soul’s disease.

Deep flowers, with lustre and darkness fraught,
From glass that gleams as the chill still seas
Lean and lend for a heart distraught
Heart’s ease.

Henri Fantin-Latour [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Henri Fantin-Latour [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Please be sure to visit Margaret at Reflections on the Teche for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

10 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “A Flower-Piece by Fantin”

  1. “heart’s ease” That is what art should evoke. I am feeling heart’s ease as I begin my summer heading to an art show that my father’s art is in. I should bring my notebook along.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you’ve been putting those stolen moments to good use, Catherine. I’ve been enjoying the act of browsing through art for this month’s challenge, too. It does put the heart at ease, doesn’t it? I’m grateful for Laura’s nudge, because my heart is telling me I need to do it more often!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing this interesting pair! I think the poem would make an interesting mentor poem for writing ekphrastic poems–especially poems based on paintings / photographs depicting still life, like flowers.

    Liked by 1 person

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