Wednesday, October 18, 2023

The Canvas

A Scythian word, maybe,
Since it was once made from hemp.
It was already cotton

In India, three thousand
Or more years ago. You can
Also make it from linen.

Thick fibers, tight weave. Heavy
Textile, in any event,
Good for sails, jackets, and tents—

Stretched, as a surface for paint.
Canvas on frames for painting
Inevitably suggests

Blankness, as in blank canvas,
Possibility, the lack
Of prior experience,

An artistic jape in which
The blank canvas is the art.
What else? A strangely white sky

Without any clouds, not blue
As you would expect, not grey,
But looking faintly woven,

Like this sky, not luminous,
Flat, blank, hinting at some snow,
But it’s autumn and still warm,

And is this even the sky
Or something else entirely,
Some stupid blank abstraction?

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