A Poem by Bert Leston Taylor
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.