The Poster-Painter's Masterpiece

by Sam Walter Foss

Sam Walter Foss

"Let us paint a landscape in June," he cried;
"A Landscape in high June."
And the poster-painter swelled with pride
And trilled a merry tune.
And he painted five cows in Antwerp blue
(For he was a poster-painter true),
And the grass they browsed was a light écru
And a dark maroon.

And the foot of one cow was in the sky,
And her horns were pink and green;
Her amber tail it curled on high--
A bright and beauteous scene.
And a lavender river flowed at her feet
With gamboge lilies fragrant and sweet,
But some were the color of powdered peat,
Some light marine.

And another cow's tail was round the sun
(Her horns hung limply down);
And her tail was white as wool new-spun,
And the sun was a neutral brown.
In the drab background was a pale-blue lamb
Who stood by the side of her turquoise dam,
And the sky--a pink parallelogram--
On the lamb closed down.

And the rhomboid hills were of ochre hue
With trees of lilac white,
And rectilinear forests grew
In a limpid cochineal light.
An isosceles lake spread fair and pink,
And, gathered about its damask brink,
Triangular swans came down to drink
With glad delight.

Then a milkmaid came with cheeks of dun
And a smile of dark maroon,
One arm was on the setting sun,
One on the rising moon.
And she seemed to float from a Nile-green sky,
With an ebony arm and an ivory eye,
And her gown swelled from a point on high,
Like a pink balloon.

But all the things the painter drew
'Twere hard to tell--
The cow, the sky, the swans of blue,
Lamb, maid, he painted well.
But which was the cow and which the maid,
And which were the swans or the trees of shade,
And which were the sky or the hills, I'm afraid,
No soul could tell.

Last updated September 22, 2022