Wally Swist – Something Worth Aspiring To

Wally Swist lives in Amherst. His books include Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love (Southern Illinois University Press, 2012); The Daodejing: A New Interpretation, with David Breeden and Steven Schroeder (Lamar University Literary Press, 2015); Candling the Eggs (Shanti Arts, LLC, 2017); The Map of Eternity (Shanti Arts, LLC, 2018) and Singing for Nothing: Selected Nonfiction as Literary Memoir (The Operating System, 2018). The Treadle and the Light: Selected and New Poems (Shanti Arts, LLC) is forthcoming.

Something Worth Aspiring To

What is worth noting is how
the former Detective Chief Superintendent Foyle

spots the portrait of Samantha Stewart
that her former employer, the artist Sir Leonard

Spencer-Jones, suggested she pose for naked;
and how Foyle, in his inimitable way, wry

facial expression with the lips and mouth, ever
so gingerly draws a silk scarf with a quick pass

of a hand across the portrait of the nude, breasts
and their aureoles fully exposed. Foyle proposes

that Samantha accompany him to London
to a safe house for White Russians, and imparts

that he will drive her, which is a change, since
she had driven him through all the years

of the war; but it is in his drawing the scarf
in folds over the painting, evincing not only

Samantha’s nakedness, but also the plain
bareness of her vulnerability, which is nearly

shocking to him, and to us, especially after her
attempt to articulate why she believed she gave

in to Sir Leonard’s request that she pose for him
in the first place, with such apparent

embarrassment, we are touched ever so profoundly
that Foyle, the man, would be quite sensitive

to protecting his longstanding friend, whom
he has downplayed his treating as a daughter,

and for us to take away from that
both an active understanding and tenderness,

an insightful discernment of high moral value,
a tacit sense of integrity, a source of guidance

we might steer by, all, and any, of which
would also be something worth aspiring to.




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