this is an ekphrastic poem about Frederic Leighton’s Flaming June
(2012 First Place and Best of Show, San Mateo County Fair)

oh, june, you are a figment of imagination
your billowing ripples beckoning
slumber sex and labial impressions
i want to be lost in your folds

lovely june, you are a Christmas fire in summer
glazing the eyes of hot toddies with caribbean sunsets
i can feel your heat from here
i want to crawl into your swallow, float my palm along your orange drapes
dissolve in your marigold madness
and caress the island of your third eye

you sat down for him
issued that suffering moan
then deep pocketed your eyes
and melted into his chariot of fire

you arbitrarily give us your flame
and we blaze in your fire
the poet writes, the artist draws, the actor delivers
and the musician plays

oh june, your paint is only skin deep
but your superficial love burns eternal in our desire
a classic player of tricks
your hearth is burning

did you hide from him, you clementine, you citrus Tart?
the way you play hide and seek with the rest?

you held the power
to rise from the chair of fantasy
step onto your own
and leave empty his marble throne
escaping in your sleep
sweeping away in your oleander boat
and dreaming of the blazing sea
until you dreamed yourself awake
and flamed the fire
of the artist’s desire

you opened your world to him
spread your oasis wide
and let him drink
your orange flame …

without you
just the echo of color
on a store-bought canvas

without you
a poem ill-worded, an idea gone nowhere, a play unfinished
music is discord

capricious muse, for however much time you stay with us
we will swim in our creative passions
climax in our love affair with art
express the artist’s craft
and burn in your retractable flame

Flaming June by Lord Frederic Leighton