“Madame Declines”

Leonardo caricature2

Leonardo caricature2

Madame Declines

She revels in how much she couldn’t eat,
And favors guests with bite-by-bite accounts
Of steaks foregone and casseroles’ defeat,
Sweets unsavored, succulence renounced,
Salads, fruits, and relishes galore
Spurned with a disdainful “Nevermore!”

She weighs in mightily on hearty eaters:
“My God, look how much food that man choked down!”
A simple piece of pie gives her the jitters.
She glares at it and sternly says, “Be gone!”
Fair Madame goes religiously to church,
But leaves religious suppers in the lurch.

If you are smart you’ll keep her portion spare.
“I’ll have a tiny bit of that,” she’ll quibble.
“No, no, you’ve given me too much by far!”
She’ll suck her fork and venture not a nibble.
She’d rather push a pea around her plate
Than deign to do right by a piece of meat.

Suppose she scored supper in Paradise,
A smorgasbord from the divine menu?
Looking around, she’d purse her lips and grouse,
“There’s too much pigging out in this venue.”
No doubt she’d up and leave with haughty grace,
And take her business to the Other Place.

Copyright (c) 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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7 Responses to “Madame Declines”

  1. Eric Wayne says:

    Clever and charming. The Leonardo gives us an image to work with as well. Finding your blog quite enriching. You succeed in giving your audience a vicarious experience of the interstices of another’s interior life.

    • JMN says:

      Thank you! That image is one of several snapped from a huge, expensive book my dad left me, and is probably not adequately credited. It’s one of several caricature-seeming images in the Leonardo book. Your recent work enhanced my interest in how painted faces might be distorted in interesting ways. You have a trained, professional eye for drawing, and a command of advanced tools. Lacking that, my fallback is maybe an off-kilter grid that lets me draw and then paint grotesque faces. Sorry, I strayed a bit here. I appreciate your attention.

      • Eric Wayne says:

        In fact I’m working on my basic drawing skills. Even though I have an MFA in art, and have had lots of drawing and painting classes, everything tends to the “radical’ end of the spectrum, in which case I mostly wing or fudge techniques to eventually get something good. I’d recommend just going to the library and picking up any of the most general drawing books. They are the most practical. Well, that’s what I’m doing anyway, rather humbly, to patch up my foundation.

      • JMN says:

        I’m humbled that you’re working on YOU’RE drawing skills!

      • Eric Wayne says:

        I think we sometimes, some of us, move through periods of relative expertise and of acquiring new skills or honing them. It’s one of the benefits of being an unknown and unsuccessful artist: you have to keep upping your game in the hopes of survival. Established artist can rest on their laurels and are forced by marketing strategies to produce a consistent product. Hence, they can’t afford to develop.

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