The Floating World

By Peter Halstead

The way the window, with its watery flaws,
Floats suspended in the bath,
As accurate as what the daylight draws
Across the glass's leaded path,

Or what the eye attempts to pull,
On getting up and peering closer,
From the outside world's original
Which now seems somewhat grosser,

Too plain and flattened to be very deep,
Lacking motion, vagueness, pigment,
Or the quintessential surface creep
That separates reality from figment

And, like windows, sky here also floats,
In this case on the crystal sea,
Distinguished only by the boats
Scattered in infinity:

So between the lapping copy and the real,
The undulating xerox and its static master,
Only accidents of light reveal
Which the sculpture, which the richer plaster.

Tippet Alley
March 18th and 19th, 2002