Learned LadiesAfter The Chess Game, Sofonisba Anguissola (1555)*
by Carole Mertz
The artist positioned young sister well. She stands
“center stage.” Her delight, as you can tell, reveals
that big sister holds mama in the clutch. And mama, not
troubled much, looks calmly at her viewer, blithely aware
of nurse standing by. But nurse may have nudged a move
and steered the girl toward her first conquest. Both sisters
know what’s about to happen. They stare until the act
is done. Black is positioned, solidly in place. Big sister,
though doubtful, will soon have the king and young
sister can’t wait to witness the win.
* * * * *
*Here is a link to the painting: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Chess_Game_-_Sofonisba_Anguissola.jpg
"Learned Ladies" appears in Carole Mertz’s Color and Line (Kelsay Books), a 2021 collection of ekphrasis and poetry in other forms. Mertz’s poems are in Prairie Light Review, Indiana Voice Journal, Mom Egg Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, Society of Classical Poets, Eclectica, and elsewhere. She is editorial assistant at Kallisto Gaia Press and enjoys critiquing poets from across the globe. Carole, a classical musician, resides with her husband in Parma, Ohio.