- Kind: Perfectbound
- Pages: 94
- Language: English
- Date Published: December, 2020
- ISBN: 978-1-953252-14-2
SYMPHONY IN FLESH COLOR AND PINK:
PORTRAIT OF MRS. FRANCES LEYLAND
James McNeill Whistler, 1871-74
Before painting her portrait, he designed
her floor-length gossamer robe, pink-gray gauze
flowing over a pale white sheath, a sheen
to that sheath so it was probably satin or silk.
He designed the sheath with cap sleeves so the robe’s
sleeves remained sheer. A gold ribbon, a gray one
twist along the robe’s sleeves, gather the fabric
into ruffles at her wrists. He designed the robe
to require she stand back-to, in profile,
wear her hair up in a bun, look down to show off
the repeating ruffled collar, gold ribbon neckband,
two prominent gold and white blossoms appliquéd
and centered below. A proliferation
of smaller ones floats above the hemline.
He designed the salon in his Chelsea home
where he had her pose between arrays
of plum blossoms before a pale pink-gray wall,
had her stand on a rush rug he had woven
with bands of a checkerboard design, design
repeated in the frame he had made.
Yes, she’s arranged, just as he wanted her.
Moira Linehan is the author of three collections of poetry. Her first two books, If No Moon (2007) and Incarnate Grace (2015), were published by Southern Illinois University Press. If No Moon had been selected by Dorianne Laux as winner of the 2006 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry open competition. Both those books were named Honor Books in Poetry in the Massachusetts Book Awards. In 2020 Slant Books published her third collection, Toward. The three collections take on the loss of her husband, a diagnosis of breast cancer, and offer meditations on her two signature landscapes: the pond behind her home of almost forty years in Winchester, Massachusetts and the far reaches of Ireland.
Widely published, Linehan has had poems appear in such journals as AGNI, The Georgia Review, Image, Nimrod, Notre Dame Review, Poet Lore, Poetry, Poetry East, and Prairie Schooner, among others. Her poem “Entering the Cill Rialaig Landscape” was chosen as the First Place Grand Prize winner in Atlanta Review’s 2016 International Poetry Competition. She has been the recipient of numerous writing residencies, including ones at the Cill Rialaig Project in Co. Kerry, Ireland; the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Co. Monaghan, Ireland; the Helen Riaboff Whiteley Center in Friday Harbor, WA; and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, VA.
A Connecticut native, Linehan has lived her adult life in the greater Boston area. After careers as a high school English teacher and administrator in high tech and academic settings, she now writes full-time and occasionally leads writing workshops.