The Pastoral Recreation, Claire Scott

William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Pastoral Recreation, 1868, Private Collection, 163 cm X 114 cm



(after the painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau)


A pastoral scene on the lid of the box
          a family gathered in breeze-licked light
                    a young girl leans back on an elbow

Piping a madrigal, her ivory and turquoise
          skirt flows over her legs
                    a boy in a white toga dances

Legs flashing, leaping
          his tambourine held high
                     the father, black curls under a straw hat,

Rests under the tree, a slight smile on his face
           gazing at his smallest, a girl of one or two
                    holding her mother’s hands

The pieces don’t match the painting
          the father touches the teen’s shoulder
                    eyes aimed at her breasts

The mother passed out near an empty jug
          the child sobbing, the boy missing
                   a smashed tambourine

Was it a dream the painter dreamt
          one cob-webbed summer night
                    filmy breezes floating through his window

A still life created by absence
         sustained by longing
                    wept into being

Claire Scott

Review by Jared Pearce

What I find fascinating here is the consideration of from where art comes: is it from memory, an accurate memory, a lived memory, or a dream, a fantasy, a wish for a reality? The consideration of those questions is quite interesting to me.

Scroll to Top