One of my most favorite paintings in the world is a simple one, one I first saw at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena. Mary Cassatt is one of my favorite artists, and when I first saw the print of "Breakfast in Bed," I fell in love with it. The original is not large--and the brush strokes are almost distracting in their dimensionality.
I have a print hanging over my piano in our living room, between prints of "The Shepherd Girl" and a Jan Van Huysum still life of flowers. The little girl in the painting reminds me of a neighbor's child when I was a young mom of only one--although the mother in the painting reminds me more of myself as a young mother, curled up in bed with my little one on a Saturday morning--with no need to rush.
So my 23rd poem for the month will be a meditation on Cassatt's lovely painting.
"Breakfast in Bed"
Squirming against me,
she fists a morsel of raisin toast,
her eyes on my forbidden
cup of tea, now cool.
I lean forward, inhaling her
baby-shampooed hair, her talcumed
warmth, her sweet babyish scent,
enhanced by wake-rumpled curls.
Her rounded cheeks, pinked
by morning sleepiness,
curve as she speaks, granting
words her own meaning
as only toddlers do--a gift
we poets seek for the
remainder of our years.
Wrapping my arms around her
warm wriggliness, my fingers
brushing against her chubby thighs,
I relax back into cool pillows,
lavender gently enveloping us.
Watching her eager brown eyes,
I know her bright mind flashes
from one thing to another--
always faster than I can follow.
Copyright 2010 by Susanne Barrett