Pasted Graphic

House Dreams
James Turner McElheron

Acrylic on canvas, 22 x 28
Text from the poem House Dreams, Dale Going


Immediately I made the bed in the yellow room. Washed dishes.
Measured the bed for a dust-ruffle. Two chintzes
for the pillows. Rose-patterned cotton,
soft as Liberty lawn, for dresses. Playing Strauss waltzes.
All day in the hot sun garden, weeding and watering,
turning soil over, readying for seeds.

                    If it’s white, handkerchief linen or soft stuff
                    or stiff and polished chintz. Lace edging.
                    A pink duvet against yellow. A long white table.
                    Gold frame for the green painting.
                    The stack of black-banded straw hats,
                     wide-brimmed and narrow.

In the foreground is the size of –

          is the focus –

but in the background – in the peripheral –

                                                             in the sight of the birdseye –

The nimble path, frail obsurdate erigeron.
                                                             Red toyon attracts hummingbirds.

                                        A great bay of chambered windows,
                                                 like the prow of a ship
                                        faring through lavender and fresh-sodded lawn

                                                 towards Lief’s kitchen window,
                                        where his wife and the parrot
                                                                       wash dishes and sing.

Calla lilies and thalia
           (the poet’s narcissus), daffs,
                   Greek Isle effusion of yellow sorrel,
                                    roses and grey oily herbs,
                                                  the infrared glow of the moon garden.

Immediately I fold a load of laundry, make the bed in the yellow room
with the pink striped sheets. Nothing could be more beautiful than
today. Hot, hot. In a long loose dress like Isadora, roses, poppies.
Pink lips, arms pink, hair wild with sweat.

–from “House Dreams”