/ Brushstrokes

Grange at the head of Derwent Water

Grange at the head of Derwent Water

Turner’s Alpine scenes, fifty times as grand,
astonish the eye, holding the viewer
in their awe-stricken spell. This miniature,
painted in the smallest sketchbook to hand,
laughs size to scorn. The jaws of Borrowdale
are a jewelled jigsaw of planes in blue,
the tiny trees giving us our only clue
as to the mountains’ mind-defeating scale.
A sandy tone softens Castle Crag: bare
contours are so saturated in light
that they beguile and bewitch the sight.
The peaks are held in outlines, flat and spare.
Who could imagine such a tranquil haven?
Calmness, smoothness and translucent space:
as if in glass, he caught the spirit of the place,
nearest to paradise if not to heaven.

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Grange at the head of Derwent Water
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