Frank Poems: A THOUSAND WORDS: John Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows

Tate: "John Constable thought Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows was his best work. Why was the painting, and the city of Salisbury, so important to Constable?"

First to catch the eye, the rainbow
Arching to the left
Against that turbulent sky
Of light and dark, sun and rain,
The rumbling and the calming
Of the recent storm.

Secondly, the cathedral,
New Sarum’s Early English jewel,
Standing tall, severe and proud,
Dominant in middle left,
Its western walls flecked
With watery light.

Thirdly, the cart and horses
(Three shires) fording the river
Left to right, the wagoner
Seated beside a figure
Caped and barely visible
(Perhaps his wife).

Fourthly, gazing at the sky,
The sheepdog. Fifth, the meadows,
Receding to the houses
Behind which the rainbow ends.

(Plus nine hundred words
to make this poem worth the picture.)


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