Without a brush,
how could a painter flesh
out spectral fingers of left-over snow,
dab them with early sun’s glow,
or stroke lines of slender hazel trees
ablaze with catkins, golden with bees?
And yet, there they are, scraped
as if they had escaped
from canvas, pressed
and dragged, distressed
every summer, autumn, winter, spring,
all life erupting.
Kim M. Russell, 23rd March 2021
My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Poetics: The Poet as Painter
Laura is back for Poetics this Tuesday, with an ekphrastic prompt. She says that ‘when our Muse has withdrawn the helping hand and is seemingly reclining somewhere in the Greek Isles, we turn to others for inspiration… Quite often it is the visual – a photo, or any illustration or art work. Thus the ekphrastic poem is born’.
She gives us a definition from Merriam Webster and the stunning examples from X. J. Kennedy’s ‘Nude Descending a Staircase’, Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Disquieting Muses’, and Anne Sexton’s emotive vision of ‘A starry night’.
Laura says that what struck her about these poems is ‘how the poets managed to liberate themselves from the paintings’ visual reality so that instead of mere description, depiction and duplication, they engage, and interpret, and thus the paintings become their own works of art.’
For this Poetics prompt, she doesn’t want us to begin with the visuals but with some titles of modern and contemporary abstract art she has given, one of which is ‘Broadway Boogie Woogie’ by Piet Mondrian, the focus of one of my past Haibun prompts, Meet Piet from 25th May 2020, which is why I have chosen ‘A Painter Without a Brush’ by Gerhard Richter My first stanza is painterly and the second ekphrastic.