POETS ONLINE ARCHIVE - Poems from Art
Hunter in the Snow by William
is the poem for this prompt. Williams wrote a series of poems based
on paintings ( visit Amy
Munno's poetry site
to see the poem & painting & more on Williams) and other
poets have been inspired by works of art. Is there a favorite
painting that you turn to and reexamine? Write a poem that begins in
that painting. If the title and artist do not appear in the poem, let
us know the source.
If you want to visit some virtual museums to look at paintings, you might try the New York museum guide at http://www.ny.com/nyc/museums/all.museums.html which can lead you to all of the city's museums.
A POST MODERN SUNSET
are too busy to notice
the sun's autobiography
through the layers of smog,
intensifying the light spreading its fingers
over giant Domino buildings
is too intense for hurried motorists
waving their middle fingers, moving along
an unfolding, tar bellied highway
like items on an assembly line.
They have not asked for sunsets.
Wasted melting colors
shimmer in broken beer bottles.
Anticipation dissipates into
wasted melting colors
teasing a bum's eyes
scanning the headlines of
a thrown away National Inquirer.
A couple blocks down the
a man hollers, "nice ass."
at a drag queen strutting out of a taxi
a police officer tucks his gun back into his holster
a kid dashes down a dark alley,
his eyes blinded for a moment.
It might as well be raining.
"Parable of the Blind" by Pieter Brueghel, (1568)
DO NOT MOURN FOR THEM
They see within through smell and
A sense of being we cannot understand
They share senses we can only imagine
Their talent is love without demand.
They've given up their mortal
Becoming dependent on one another
They cannot paint painful pastels
but remind us to pray for each other.
DRAWING HANDS (from M.C.
is defining it.
of all eternal
I remember the day we bought
or rather, they had it made
an airbrushed picture by
a gifted, poor man without legs
he was so beautiful
because even then, a little girl
knew he was more beautiful than me
he could create this mystical life
and I watched, as outside
in the warm rays of Helios,
he made the one constant thing in my
The most glorious expression of hope,
their hope for me,
his hope for the sweet creature
he made for me
a winged horse in flight,
among the very stars,
those stars I longed to touch
and the mane held my name in letters
I was then too young to read
and colors flowed from the rainbow
and every morn
and every night
I lay my eyes upon it
and see the stars within my reach...
OPHELIA AND MILLAIS
He has floated her in the center of the mouth
of the river, and her skirt floats too,
a great trout.
Her arms are open at her sides,
either begging for something,
or pushing it away.
At one point there were flowers.
She is just about to drift headfirst
which could be hands.
In the thicket on the bank to her left
something with a paw is hiding,
and next to it,
at the edge of the bank, a tangle
of roots extends over her head
like a crown of close gold.
Fairies bend the branches of a white
flowering bush towards her,
but she already has everything she needs.
Andrew Wyeth, 1980
Helga lies in the tempera bed
beneath the white net cover
on white sheets, a white room.
If there was a breeze through
the two small open windows,
we would not know now.
Her hair is braided, it hangs
like a rope around her neck,
her one hand holds the other.
The red bedframe bookends
her body and is the only color
but for her skin, hair, nipple.
I imagine he mixed the egg
for the tempera slowly for that flesh,
though he knew it well now,
after nine years of study.
Helga, you are a winter woman
even in this warm weather scene.
I passed your Pennsylvania house
and his farm and wanted to stop.
But what could I say to you?
I wanted to ask you to lie down again
naked and strong and clear all thoughts
so that I might lose myself in this world too.
Three Musicians, 1921
It is a masterpiece of poetic
and Picassos first attempt
to compose three figures
within the constraints
of synthetic Cubism.
Three masked musicians: one
the clarinet, another the guitar
and a third holds the sheet of music
with small, small hands.
Unlike the Kahnweilers
(three pages previous) I SEE the table,
the faces, the hands and if I listen closely,
I can hear the ruckus of a lively duet
and the dull thud of the happy dog's
distant, impossible tail.
The flat surfaces of color,
rectilinear, delineate the musicians
bright costumes and their broad shoulders
make their hands look even smaller.
In 1921, Picasso painted in a
at Fontainebleau. Olga presented him
with Paulo, his first son. And I imagine
the artist's brown head hovering
over a spindled crib. His thick finger
slips into Paulo's infant grip to marvel
at its diminutive perfection.
(Unlike the monstrous
of the Large Bather hunkered
on the next page.)
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