PF detail from Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Beach Scene, Guernsey (Children by the Sea in Guernsey) - 1883;


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Last updated:
May 2009


Christie Casher is a writer and teacher from Long Beach, NY.  Her work has appeared in tinfoildresses, Ozone Park, Fair Use, The Graduate Literary Forum, and the Pipe Dream and she edited and appeared in an anthology of poetry, Ugly Poets, Beautiful Poems (Lagoon Drive Press, 2004).  She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in 2006 and her MA in Teaching from Pace University in 2008.  She is currently working on a new book of poetry and teaching English and Creative Writing in Brooklyn.


My Father at the Met

Perseus greets him as he steps into the marble hall,
Medusa held in air by her snakes, preserved moment
of defeat.  Ignoring the sculptures ahead he says,
what woman with babies deserves my critique? 
He continues through walkways, towards the treasury,
gilded and hammered metal, ancient currency.   
The stained glass past the Byzantine— melted reds
and greens that bathe entire walls in colored light.   

He knows the 15th century best, coats of arms,
burgonets.  Gilded armor engraved with lions
or women. We kept horses in New London. 
Our stallion deserved a suit with such etchings.

Chagall is muddled, look at his colors.
I’ve been to Vitebsk, it’s not that desperate.
The problem’s perspective, pipes dwarf the sky.
Cartoonish clouds hang low in the distance. 

Klee, he’s obsessed with structure, geometry.
See how his oils bleed on a cardboard matte.
A child’s messy interlude, my littlest one’s
finger painting framed, hung, and called art. 

Mondrian’s a man with control, precision,
capturing a grid with grace. He discovered
the wonder in primaries, blues and yellows. 
But stop, look, see how the red changes everything. 

Balthus makes me think of my youngest daughter
how in his painting, the girl stands at her window,
looking out. My little one sees the world that way,
pastel and lovely.  She doesn’t believe in gray.

Sometimes I fear she’ll always be looking out
the largest window of her house for the perfect view, 
opening the screen  to let the wind rush in.   
I want her to always see in green, eternal spring. 

I retrace his steps months later, visiting the city
to see Rauschenberg’s Combines.  I imagine
his critique:  Found materials do not make art.
His voice echoes as I move from room to room,

as if he’s beside me saying, This is how to see.
Look at the work.  Commit it to memory.

Paul Gauguin  “The Cat”