Passing the Day

passing01  Peony silks,
	 in wax-light:
		 that petal-sheen,

  gold or apricot or rose
	 candled into-
		 what to call it,

  lumina, aurora, aureole?
	About gowns,
		the Old Masters,

passing02  were they ever wrong?
	This penitent Magdalen's
		wrapped in a yellow

  so voluptuous
	she seems to wear
		all she's renounced;

  this boy angel
	isn't touching the ground,
		but his billow

  of yardage refers
	not to heaven
		but to pleasure's

textures, the tactile
	sheers and voiles
		and tulles

which weren't made
	to adorn the soul.
		Eternity's plainly nude;

passing03 the naked here and now
      longs for a little
         dressing up. And though
they seem to prefer
	the invisible, every saint
		in the gallery

  flaunts an improbable
	tumble of drapery,
		a nearly audible liquidity

  (bright brass embroidery,
	satin's violin-sheen)
		raveled around the body's
 plain prose; exquisite
	(dis?)guises; poetry,
		music, clothes.

Nothing needs to be this lavish.
	Even the words I'd choose
		for these leaves;

intricate, stippled, foxed,
	tortoise, mottled, splotched
		-jeweled adjectives    

passing04 for a forest by Fabergé,
      all cloisonné and enamel,
         a yellow grove golden
 in its gleaming couture,
      brass buttons
          tumbling to the floor.
  Who's it for?
      Who's the audience
           for this bravura?
 Maybe the world's
      just trompe l'oeil,
	    appearances laid out

  to dazzle the eye;
	who could see through this
		to any world beyond forms?

passing05 Maybe the costume's
      the whole show,
         all of revelation
 we'll be offered.
      So? Show me what's not
         a world of appearances.
 Autumn's a grand old drag
      in torched and tumbled chiffon
         striking her weary pose.

Talk about your mellow
      fruitfulness! Smoky alto,
         thou hast thy music,

 too; unforgettable,
      those October damasks,
         the dazzling kimono
 worn, dishabille,
      uncountable curtain calls
         in these footlights'

dusky, flattering rose.
     The world's made fabulous
         by fabulous clothes.
Couture – Mark Doty (1953 – )
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