Writing in Whangarei

Salvator Rosa’s Philosophy

by Aaron Robertson

Ah, Signor, what a curious facade
your palette paints, in sombre tones exhumed
from deep within Vesuvius’ shade.

Your chiaroscuro brow, although esteemed
by melancholy eyes, sits ill at ease
with dictums as austere as you have framed.

Such words should be a maxim for our days,
not hidden behind glass while others tell
us everything, yet nothing that is wise.

Forget the flattery of marble halls
that keep you safe for their proper delight,
but fear to put your charms on open trial.

To fill the void, I’d promise you the street
in which to give your principles full reign;
your cherished silence made a perfect state.

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2 responses

  1. I really like the rhyming and rhythm of this, but most of all I like this idea of the ‘flattery of marble halls…’ and the contrast between what is there in the poem/painting and what is perhaps not there. Makes me wanna go to London and see it in person. I think we should do more poetry/art combinations. This is a cool poem, Aaron.

    March 2, 2011 at 9:09 am

  2. Martin

    Beautiful setting to this poem, carefully crafted to match the painting. I admire the way the form matches the historical context, the subtle and gracious internal half-rhymes and the intelligent insight. At first sight this poem seems straight-forward, but the more I read it, the more rewarding it becomes.

    March 3, 2011 at 7:39 am

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