For some, war is just academic, just
breasts popping out of white flowing dresses
as women raise one arm in gorgeous distress,
just people falling in romantic repose,
just wounds that barely mar flesh and cosmic
justice from the gods, until (that is) they see
what it is for themselves, until they bleed
and watch others, brutal and horrific.
Only, David kept up this painting style
even after he’d watched Robespierre
guillotine, even after he’d helped him,
after listening to the music of screams while
blood clotted on Parisian streets. He was there
and still painted it beautiful, not grim.