It was you who taught me to appreciate art:
Balance and composition in a painting,
That kind of thing. Sometimes at galleries,
In front of landscapes, I would think aloud
About the figures in the distance–who they were,
What was their purpose, what they were doing there.
You said it was naive to think like that–
They were points of focus, artistic devices,
No more or less than elements in the canvas
Like clouds or trees. I bowed to your learning.
After you left me, I tried very hard
To retain this idea of overview
And see the picture as you would.
It didn’t help. But at least I understood
Why figures from previous scenes, when I looked back,
Always appeared to be enraged or weeping.