Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Neil Ellman - Three Poems

Homage to the Square: Apparition
(after the painting by Joseph Albers)

Even in the darkness
I could see the shape
of your soul
the glow of angles
lines straight
plumb to the earth
your phantom square
of precision
knowing nothing
of curves
erratic nighthawk flights
and wild berries
growing on the
side of the road
while I can see
who you truly are.

Above the Earth IV
(after the painting by Mark Tobey)

The day after it died
pebbles on its eyes
a plaster mask
and shroud
dripping wax from
its maw and grin
it was laid to rest
after too many
days and nights
circling clockwise

measuring the hours
in absinthe cups
and compass points—
I kneeled beside its
coffin in the sea.

Symphony No. 1, The Transcendental
(after the painting by Richard Pousette-Dart)

If only these notes
this symphony
of stars and quarter moons
collisions of light and sound
constellations hanging in the air
like fresh-cut marigolds
and new-born seraphim
could change the man
into the child
who once traced centaurs
on the sky
if only the child
could transcend the man
all would be right
with the music of the spheres.

Neil Ellman lives and writes in New Jersey.  His poems, many of which are ekphrastic and based on works of modern art, appear in numerous international print and online journals, as well as in eight chapbooks, the most recent of which, Convergence and Conversion: Ekphrastic Poems, is due out shortly from The Knives Forks and Spoons Press.

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