Madame Bonnard and her Dog
For Elma Thrubron
My tutor liked to remind me about Bonnard;
the pokey hotels where he’d fiddle with paint,
ready his tubes and make his corrections deft,
calming down this blue or softening the hard
lines, a dab to balance or make it ghostly faint.
Never a black shadow, but rather red or white.
Above her bed or tiles, colour was jewel-bright.
Mostly my tutor talked about the space he left.
Nothing on the table between the cup and pot.
Madame Bonnard pushed out by its table cloth,
her quintessential dog following Madame’s face.
Notice how action’s moved to the edge. Time
to see the vital gap at the centre of the frame.
Lighting-up, my tutor put everything in place.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Sue Spiers would be
pleased to hear them.