Friday, December 12, 2014

Paintings Resemble Their People

Paintings Resemble Their People

like people possess
pigmented skin
supported on a frame.

Pictures cobbled from
work-a-day stuffs
ochre, cotton, timber
dust to dust.

The Ghent Altarpiece
just a few dollars
in panels and paint
tracked to a salt mine,
by ‘Monuments Men’ dying
to find stolen images
and snatch them back
from the swastika troops
at heart arresting risk.

Risk for the hardened linseed oil
skin less than a millimetre deep
on twelve panels
treasure beyond price.

A rescue undertaking
steeped in passion
like the crucified Lamb's.

The image of man watermarks a painting
like the image of God birth marks a man
imago homo
imago dei.

A rock wall’s leaping bison
parlayed from millennia past
Ghent’s wounded lamb
shepherded through time
to join surlier creatures lately come
each beast inescapably tracked
by the watermarks of man
imago bestia
imago homo
imago dei
in twists of colour
threaded like beaded DNA
through countless canvasses
century to century.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

At Cross Purposes

At Cross Purposes

Particulars are grit
rock salt of the earth
like Abe the Chaldean packing his camel
like the Jew Jesus
who signed as run-away Jonah
and made like a fiery snake
lifted up on a pole in the wilderness.

Universals are fog
that subverts edges, makes
one prophet or pretender resemble another.
Jesus Buddha Mohammed
seeming similar in silhouette
until sunlight evaporates 
the mist and glistens in a bloodied
timber’s gritty edge.