A Poem by Bert Leston Taylor

(Lines written after viewing Mr. Arthur Dove’s
exposition of the ‘Simultaneousness of the Ambient’)

I cannot tell you how I love
    The canvases of Mr Dove,
Which Saturday I went to see
    In Mr Thurber’s gallery.

At first you fancy they are built
    As patterns for a crazy-quilt,
But soon you see that they express
    An ambient simultaneousness.

This thing which you would almost bet
    Portrays a Spanish omelette,
Depicts instead, with wondrous skill,
    A horse and cart upon a hill.

Now, Mr Dove has too much art
    To show the horse or show the cart;
Instead he paints the creak and strain,
    Get it?  No pike is half so plain.

This thing which would appear to show
    A fancy vest scenario,
Is really quite another thing —
    A flock of pigeons on the wing.

But Mr Dove is much too keen
    To let a single bird be seen;
To show the pigeons would not do,
    And so he simply paints the coo.

It’s all as simple as can be;
    He paints the things you cannot see.
Just as composers please the ear
    With programme things you cannot hear.

Dove is the cleverest of chaps;
    And, gazing at his rhythmic maps,
I wondered (and I’m wondering yet)
    Whether he did them on a bet.