Claire Crowther


To claim your inheritance:

Soft shape of black dots.
Ignore its green rivulets where trams rode,
its village making chocolate, the Rotunda.

Concentrate on:

the sitters for Rubens, Tintoretto, Ghisi,
those immigrant paintings.
That lugubrious man in his feathered cap
and peplum. Beccafumi's Venus covered in blusher,
even her knees, the goddess of the hand altar,
thumbs up, stuck in a pattern of palms and fingers.

To become Mistress of the Legend:

See that view of a landscape near Malines,
its blue wings of wood, lake, grey sky?
There is nothing for you in such a healthy grave,
the classical skyline.
Only the sitters, left at home, hold their myth,
St Catherine propped by a wheel,
St Ursula sensing the suburbs as it would be.

Old woman:

Here are your lines, your red eyelids.