The overwhelming detail in Boyd’s The Golden Calf (see my last blog post) meant that some diversion was needed on that afternoon. One distraction that offered itself was, right next to the Boyd, an Albert Tucker Girl, painted in 1951.
Then he came home to find that his wife, Joy Hester, had left him. No wonder, after all this, that a portrait of a girl would carry elements of seediness and immorality – as here on this wall, a Picasso-esque depiction of a young girl.
Here is the resulting poem with some additional notes, which show how one thing can lead to another as I have to restrain myself from sailing off into French poetry and its influence on English.
Girl by Albert TuckerThe girl as prostitutesee the rougesee the painted smilesee the brazen buttocksthe upraised breaststhe dark vague bushof lust implied therethe long luxurious black hairthe body cut up and reassembledand is it an angel or the sun’sgolden glow shining down on heror just the blue light on a police carand the accusing glare of its headlights?
Note: Tucker was much influenced by Eliot’s disillusioned view of the world as well as by Picasso’s disintegrating and distorted figures.
Grishkin is nice: her Russian eyeIs underlined for emphasis;Uncorseted, her friendly bustGives promise of pneumatic bliss.(T. S. Eliot, 1919)
Which derives from:
Carmen est maigre – un trait de bistreCerne son oeil de gitana.Ses cheveux sont d’un noir sinistre,Sa peau, le diable la tanna.
(Théophile Gautier, 1852, translation by Barry Breen 2013)Carmen is thin – a bistre trackGives her gypsy eye a hint of evil.Her hair is of a sinister blackAnd her skin has been tanned by the devil.
-Barry Breen March 2013