Naked Child Laughing

Naked Child Laughing, Lucian Freud (1963, oil on canvas)

Naked Child Laughing

The body is framed landscape
       the rise and fall
of folds of flesh
       the soft hills and dales
fashioned from the clay
       to which one day
we will all return
       the hair that hangs
in the breathless wild wind
       posed against the earth
from which all things issue
       raw siennas and burnt umbers :
but here is thought
       and feeling and movement
nothing still in the universe
       nothing ever complete
or ever over
       or ever in vain

In my previous life I was a biker
        regulation black leather
read Zukofsky and Charles Olson
       tucked myself into the unwieldy
world of words but loved the image
       and the seismic shock of Cezanne
who somehow seemed
       to simplify the sky
drawing down its energies
       so that they seeped
into the sinuous mineral land
       and here too Lucian
and the naked girl
       beloved and more joyously
alive than life itself
       and for all time

John Lyons

Re-posted with corrections



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