Friday, June 25, 2010

Lady On A Chaise Lounge

Lady On A Chaise Lounge takes the idea of the "unknown Odalisque" , so beautifully featured in Marie-France's painting, and defines what is unknown about this alluring woman.. She is not the typical, erotic servant who graces the male harem. Her poise is openly revealed in the sleek flow of hair and body. Yet, her face and expression remain hidden, a tantalizing mystery.

Beyond her presence, there is a window capturing the sea and an elegant boat on the horizon. The vessel with its crisp sail "waiting to lured by an island", is a hypnotic vision meant to entice the man watching her. She has the power to read minds and create a mirage. In this way, she becomes the mistress of her own fate and selects who will serve and pleasure her the most.

The last stanza emphasizes this concept very strongly. As she rises to face her admirer, her confidence and protective canine control the setting with breathtaking temptation and awe. The man is dazzled yet unnerved by the dangerous nuances of her boudoir. He clearly understands she is the one --
"who rules this harem of dreams, who stirs and quiets the wild impulse within."

The loose hair
stolen from Rapunzel's look
and falling down your back,
draws intrigue, confidence
that the unseen face
will match its silken gold.
The man viewing this
smiles, trusting his instincts.

Yet, he can only speculate
on how your eyes
seductively prowl
the rustling waves
framed by the window.
A schooner's sail
is starched with salt
and waits to be lured
by an island.fragrant
with almonds and pomegranates,
sweet sins of the orchard.

He does not know
the boat is all mirage,
not a wooden vessel
trophied on the horizon's wind.

You conjured its shape
with the glitter of an evening star
and your imagination.

Soon you will rise,
light as those palm leaves
spouting grace,
latch the shutters
and turn around
showing him
who rules this harem of dreams,

who quiets or stirs
the wild impulse.within. A sleek
doberman leans against your knee;
like all protective animals,
she will guard her mistress
and even make
the drapery wince
with her slow, suspicious breathing.

The lovely painting is called "Odalisque Inconnu by French artist, Marie-France Riviere. More of her beautiful art work can be seen at this website --

1 comment:

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