I would, if I could, hide in the details,
disappear in plain sight,
and fool you blood and bone—
light and dark, heart and soul,
a deep music welling up
and weeping inside,
begging to trip you.
I would if I could, I would.
I do.


Trompe-l’œil (TRUMP-loy, French for deceiving the eye) is the technique of using a skillfully created, hyper-realistic optical illusion to create a three dimension perspective in two dimensional art. The image above, for example, is a detail from Henry Fuseli’s 1750 painting with the rather obvious name, Trompe-l’œil.

To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Poem and notes © 2014 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2014 by John Etheridge,


Filed under Poetry

4 responses to “Trompe-l’œil

  1. This is a very powerful, moving piece. Thank you.

  2. John, the rhythm of your poetry strikes again, but this image at the top helps to show this “Trompe-l’œil”. I actually have never heard of this … The theme of seeing, here, invites me to a place of contrast and contemplative thought: ” … light and dark, heart and soul—a deep music
    welling up and weeping inside, begging …”

    • Wow, T, I only just realized that I never responded to this lovely comment! Boy, is my face red…sorry! Thank you so much…you are always such a great supporter. I wish I deserved it! 🙂

      Once you see a painting (or say, a fresco of what looks like a carved ceiling but is actually a painting) the idea is clear. But what really got to me and blew my mind was this example of a sculpture (!!!!) using trompe-l’œil. I cannot even imagine the technical skill and artistic vision to create such a masterpiece:

      trompe-l'oeil sculpture