Tag Archives: paintings

Work of Art

Work of Art

Is it lop-sided, a little awry?
Or is the fault in your clouded, critical eye?
Maybe a slight adjustment
will hang the picture right.
The painter caught well his subject,
a street in a city in a hazy brown light.
That tram seems to be empty,
see the way it tilts to one side.
No one waits in the shelter
to step on board for a ride.
Further up, in the distance,
a black cat sits by a market stall.
That tower looks about to topple,
one brick less and it would fall.
It tempts you to pass into the canvas,
walk up the pavement,
see what’s in the shop windows.
Bound to be odd things,
besides your reflection.
Listen to your footsteps
echo down alleys, round corners.
Dare you go on with no real direction?
But, of course, you must.
It is only a painting,
and in art more than life you trust.
You enter a hotel, find a key to your room,
wonder what does it mean.
Sat alone in a cinema,
tears hurt your eyes,
for pictures from your life pass by on the screen.
Then your stomach reminds you that you have a body,
and you walk off to a café.
After coffee and sandwiches, you will feel better,
welling with the warmth of a smile, the light of a laugh.

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Unfinished Portrait of Cezanne

Unfinished Portrait of Cezanne

Cezanne painted portraits,
not just fruit on a table,
hills, green and yellow,
trees, light from a window.
There he is on canvas,
a young man with a moustache.
Now see him older,
sat with bowler hat and beard.
Nowadays people take selfies,
but his work needed no camera.
He learned from the masters,
studied them in galleries,
took a carriage down to the river,
conversed on art and literature
with his friend, Emile Zola.
He painted his relations,
friends and strangers.
See the woman in the red dress,
his son as a child.
His wife, Madame Cezanne,
he tried to mirror,
over and over.
Each one of her portraits
unlike any other.
His brush strokes were tender,
as when he attempted to capture
the essence of apples, wood and flowers.
Obediently, she posed for him.
She lived with him in Paris.
She left him to his work.
He worked alone for hours.
Look, there is his father,
secure in his wealth,
sat on a chair,
keeping an eye on politics and business,
reading a newspaper,
lying on his lap,
stretched out by his hands.
He ate well, he wrote,
in his last letters,
but could not bear the heat of summer,
from noon to early evening,
it was too hot to paint,
and when the sky was grey and cloudy,
there was no light,
then nature seemed ugly.
He did not pine to be younger,
but wished he was stronger.
He knew like any other
one day he must surrender
to the shadow that stood in the doorway,
waited in the corner.
His final portrait,
he meant to complete it later.
His studio silent,
he was not there
to lift his palette,
hold his brushes,
to finish his impression.
His spirit speaks in his letters,
his works on canvas,
he left behind him.
His name here forever,
his signature on the stream
that flows over wood and paper.

The Scream

The Scream

( Lines on the life and works of Edvard Munch, born 12th December 1863, died 23rd January 1944 )

Your sick sister.
The doctor left her.
Tuberculosis, his diagnosis.
You knew, however.
It wrenched from you your mother
when you were younger.
Stiff on her chair
with her dropped head.
World to ignore her.
Your sick sister,
her irises red,
her head heavy on the pillow.
Hectic lines on the walls.
Daylight too bright, had to curtain the window.
What else could you do
but work with your tools,
the craft of the painter?
Her face strokes of pale white on the canvas,
her clothes black smudges.
The room bare, no life could be lived there.
The death of your mother,
your sister, your father,
the death of your own life
that waited ahead.
Your study of dancers,
both living and dead.
You painted the skull headed phantom,
its mouth torn wide open,
hands too thin to give its ears shelter,
tortured by the scream
that cut through the cold bones,
the dried veins of nature.

Collage Of A Life

Collage Of A Life
poem by Philip Dodd for the Best Six Poets Project
painting by Kathryn Carlyle

A collage of a life painted on canvas.
Images separated by pale tone spaces.
Is that just a random tree?
Could it mean nothing to you but something to me?
And what are those buildings?
Why are they there?
Did you walk by them one summer,
the south wind in your hair?
It is strange, seems to do us good,
the way we create things with words,
pictures and sounds,
steered by the spirit we tune into
that moves through the air.

 

Questions

Questions

poem by Philip Dodd for the Best Six Poets Project
painting by Fati Tomaera-Gabellini

Why wear a band to hold back your hair?
Why is it green, not red, black or blue?
Why do you stand at the half open door?
Does the room you look in belong to you?
Is that pain peeled back in your eyes?
At whom do you stare?
The one you intrude upon,
are you afraid in his glance
you will see nothing there?
Time to douse the candle flame,
the ink pot has run dry.
The scribe almost ends the tale,
at least he had a try.
Who was it who sat in the chair,
painted the painting on the screen?
The mind demands answers,
wonders what it all could mean.
It is the colour of leaf and grass,
seems to be a good sign,
the band you wear to hold back your hair,
to keep your steps in line.

Abstract

Abstract
Unframed
Painting by Kathryn Carlyle
Poem by Philip Dodd for Six Best Poets Project

Consider clouds.
Carve canyons, waves,
towers, bridges, palace gardens,
bearded gods in their forms,
ever building, dispersing.
For the mind demands pattern,
recognisable shapes,
likes a good yarn, a fine tale.
Now to this abstract painting attend.
The mind at a loss to guess its inspiration.
Look for an eye, impose a nose.
Acknowledge it has no theme.
Mirrors worlds not seen.
Only with eyes closed, in a dream.
Maybe that is a figure in a white coat,
a shiny helmet on its head,
emerging from a cave mouth?
Could be, but the mind
can make too much of a hint.

A Bewilderment of Doves

A Bewilderment of Dove

by Philip Dodd, written for The Best Six Poets project
inspired by a painting by Alex Alemany

On my closed eye lid screen I see
a bewilderment of doves.
Once caught in cloud cages, wind wires,
from barn lofts, orchard walls,
they flutter free.
To doors on the horizon,
they carry a key.
I can only be a witness,
watch them go,
further and further
away from me.
Human as I am I will never know
the lift through the air
on such white feathered wings.