Isabella and the Pot of Basil

Isabella and the Pot of Basil

A Poem by Vanessa Whiteley
"

(after the painting by Holman Hunt - 1867)

"

 

There's such beauty here, those light flowing garments and the skin beneath, sensual in the light of the lamp.  All seems drapery and soft folds, yet there's cool firm marble and above red roses, a skull.  Isabella's midnight hair curves about an earthern, lustre pot while a fallen bloom echoes the floor beneath her bare feet.      

 

This flesh Lorenzo

loved to touch in soft caress.

white rose petals fade. 

 

Yet each detail is given Pre-Raphaelite life.  One feels that just by reaching out you can stroke rich alter cloth, embroidered flowers and breathing leaves that Isabella waters with her tears. 

 

Rich soil hides,

a cherished decaying head.

Sweet Basil flowers. 

 

Did Hunt feel in giving life to Isabella that he might keep Fanny?  Even as his brush caressed that skin would he imagine his model and wife, locked forever in canvas - even though she died in childbirth before this picture was complete. 

 

 

© 2008 Vanessa Whiteley


Author's Note

Vanessa Whiteley
This is experimental for me. I'd love to know if you think it works.

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Featured Review

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J
You show your love for art and symbolism and romance here, oh you, haha. This is a very interesting layout; it's great to see you've expanded your repertoire, become more free in your definitions of poetry. But then, everyone needs to break their own boundaries and expand, for what is art in general if not a way to do this, to explore one's own psyche, and in coming to this, finding out it's often a universally subconscious message?

But I do blab.

I've written a haibun too... wonderful to play with; there are so many options with this 'form', if you can call it that. It's like... prose, but shortened as much as possible, entwined with haiku. What a brilliant idea, really.

This piece suits me quite well. Thank you.
J

Posted 16 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.



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Reviews

I am glad that I found this poem. Your interpretation of his paiting is caring and sensual, this story has been told by Boccaccio and Keats and Hunt and they have seen it differently, she was afraid to burry the body into earth and so she puts it into a large pot and covers iwth earth and from it grows a basil plant - that I can see in the picture . At the end Isabella dies lamenting over the pot and also the model - the wife of painter died when giving birth to a child, so this is tragical in double meaning. You wrote a wonderful portrait to a famous paiting, Vanessa. I loved this "Yet each detail is given Pre-Raphaelite life. One feels that just by reaching out you can stroke rich alter cloth, embroidered flowers and breathing leaves that Isabella waters with her tears. "------made me see even deeper! great write.

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Well writ truly informative, gives life to the artist. yes it works

Posted 16 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Your words are a fine complement to this beautiful detail, encouraging the reader to study and enjoy the finer details. Very nice.

Posted 16 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

[send message][befriend] Subscribe
J
You show your love for art and symbolism and romance here, oh you, haha. This is a very interesting layout; it's great to see you've expanded your repertoire, become more free in your definitions of poetry. But then, everyone needs to break their own boundaries and expand, for what is art in general if not a way to do this, to explore one's own psyche, and in coming to this, finding out it's often a universally subconscious message?

But I do blab.

I've written a haibun too... wonderful to play with; there are so many options with this 'form', if you can call it that. It's like... prose, but shortened as much as possible, entwined with haiku. What a brilliant idea, really.

This piece suits me quite well. Thank you.
J

Posted 16 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

as an expository piece it works very well, giving feelings to the tragic tale behind this wonderful Art - more of a prose Poem that adds a layer of shadows that the painting only alludes to in the Skull and wilted rose - the painting is made deeper by your word painting below - I thought you should know... the portrait is so alluring and almost too real where your words make it feel

Posted 16 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

The painting is beautiful and your words add life to it by articulating so elegantly that that we see but would not digest by looking alone, the details. Haibun is new to me, I shall have to look that up and investigate. Thank you once again for an absolutely splendid read.

Posted 16 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Oh this is a real treat.

It's sort of like an artwork critique � but it's so much more than that. It brings life and passion to the work and draws passion, also, from the life of the artist.

From this piece I am learning, I am discovering your visual aesthetics, and you lead me on a romantic adventure�all three.

This would make a nice series for publication.


Posted 16 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Oh you wrote a Haibun and a great one too! I love this...wait love isn't enough to express...this is exquisite from beginning to end. Experimental for you, but sublime for everyone who reads it. I feel inspired to look up this artist and learn more about him from reading this...and the painting...gorgeous. I can see why you wanted to write about it.

Posted 16 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


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Added on February 20, 2008
Last Updated on February 27, 2008

Author

Vanessa Whiteley
Vanessa Whiteley

Bristol, England



About
Born in 1560 in Stratford-upon-Avon. I have a passion for writing but my parents wanted me to marry early. I ran away from home to see if I could make my fortune in London as my older brother had d.. more..

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