Dear Brueghel-just appeared in the Ekphrastic Review


Venus Frigida, by Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish), 1614.

Dear Brueghel,

by Steve Deutsch

Venus Frigida, by Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish), 1614.

Dear Brueghel,

Stop by at your good time
to see the piece.
I’ve named it Venus Frigida.
It turns me blue to think of her.
How we all long
for the warmth
and sun of Italy.

Finding the wench
took little doing.
I simply put word
out in the taverns
and the next morning
the boulevard was packed
with women—eager to pose.
They blocked
the street so thoroughly
the provision carts
had no passage
and our fellow Antwerpers
had, that night, no waterzooi
but cabbage heads alone
to sample with their beer.
Some old-timers
easy with a grudge
still assault
me with rude gestures
as they pass.

I found a trick
by which to make
my model shiver.
I doused her with water–
two or three buckets do,
and had her repose in a sunless spot
until the goose bumps popped
and her breathing shallowed.
Her face spoke of pure despair,
as she shook from morn to eve!

But damn the imp.
The very thought
of finding one
gave me shivers.
Have you technique
to make them settle?
I used three infants
and shuttled them
in and out when patience,
theirs or mine, waned.
I threatened,
I cajoled,
and finally I bribed
them with the finest sweets.
I would have liked
to string one up
to gain the interest
of its peers.

A sculpted infant,
life like enough to paint
would be a boon to all.
Have you the skill?
I don’t.


Steve Deutsch

Steve Deutsch, a semi-retired practitioner of the fluid mechanics of mechanical hearts and heart valves, lives with his wife Karen–a visual artist, in State College, PA. Steve writes poetry, short fiction and the blog–, which attempts satire. His most recent publications have appeared in New Verse News, Silver Birch Press, Misfit Magazine and One-Sentence poems.

This entry was posted in gang gang dance, Humor, parody, poetry, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dear Brueghel-just appeared in the Ekphrastic Review

  1. I love how you got inside the head of Rubens for this one, Steve, with your usual flair for the more droll aspects of life. Nicely done


  2. stevieslaw says:

    Thank you Sarah. We had a good meeting today, but missed you.


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