Nu Descendant Un Escalier - 1912
Toe upon toe, a snowing flesh,
A gold of lemon, root and rind,
She sifts in sunlight down the stairs
With nothing on. Nor on her mind.
We spy beneath the banister
A constant thresh of thigh on thigh -
Her lips imprint the swinging air
That parts to let her parts go by.
One-woman waterfall, she wears
Her slow descent like a long cape
And pausing, on the final stair
Collects her motions into shape.
Kennedy comments: "The poem was inspired by Marcel Duchamp's painting of the same title, but describes that work only with very rough fidelity". (The work's title has the masculine gender)
X.J. Kennedy was born in Dover, New Jersey. His first volume of poetry - of the same name - won the 1961 Lamont Award.