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This poem is taken from PN Review 146, Volume 28 Number 6, July - August 2002.

Four Poems Tom Payne

On Nigel Spivey's Enduring Creation

    And what poet ever sat down
in front of a Titian, pulled out
his versifying tablet and began
to drone?
                        Frank O'Hara, 'To Larry Rivers'


1

Well, there are many, and will always be
who spin their lines by naming what they see.
'About suffering, they were never wrong'
is often the occasion for a song
with all that ekphrasis, word-weaving on
the tapestry before the picture's done,
or wondering, as the woman looks away
to Vermeer's Delft, what does the letter say?
Thus canvases can offer some pretext
...


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