Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Why knowing is (& Matisse's Woman with a Hat)

Why knowing is a quality out of fashion and no one can decide to
but slips into it or ends up with a painting one has never
seen that quality of light before even before having seen it
in between pages of another book and not remembering who knows
or recognizing the questionable quality of light on her face
as she sits for a portrait and isn't allowed to move an inch
you recognize the red silk flower on her hat
and can almost place where you have seen that gray descending
through the light reversing foreground and background
as the directions escape one as the way you have to
live with anyone as she gets up finally from her chair
having written the whole of it in her head as the question
ignored for the hundredth time as a quality of knowing is
oddly resuscitated from a decade prior to this.

Credit


From Why/Why Not by Martha Ronk. Copyright © 2003 by the Regents of the University of California. Reprinted by permission of the University of California Press. All rights reserved.

Author


Martha Ronk

Born in 1940, Martha Ronk is the author of several collections of poetry, including Vertigo (Coffee House Press, 2007), which was selected by C. D. Wright as a part of the National Poetry Series.

Date Published: 2003-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/why-knowing-matisses-woman-hat