Poem - Parsons - Fire



after Jo, La Belle Irlandaise (Johanna Hifferman) by Gustave Courbet


At first glance, Johanna Hifferman appears

to be brushing her stunning long red hair,

hair filling the frame as it forms her looming

intense face, where dazzling blue eyes blaze

into a hand held silver mirror and the other

hand toils at fiery ringlets, petite fingers pulling

gently from atop the creamy painting of brow

above the magnetic passion of those eyes,

eyes drawing the looks of the crowded queue

all gawking like the awed bystanders watching

some grand building aflame, their attention

keeps returning to the two small windows, where

humanity might emerge, showing it’s true

face, some emotion, like fear, despair, desire,

lust, emotions they might all recognize within

themselves or their outed longings, all standing

like worshippers before some magnificent

cardinaled saint, like Joan herself, burning,

flaming…inside and out…all present—blessed

with fire.


by Dave Parsons

As heard on Texas Poets Podcast, October, 2015