Poem

9 Jun

I wrote this poem many years ago in tribute to the great early 19th Century English landscape and seascape painter, J. M. W. Turner, classified as a Romantic painter but who could also be termed one of the fathers of Impressionism, Expressionism and Abstract Expressionism, if not the father. The poem references one of Turner’s most famous watercolor paintings, called “Pink Sky Above a Grey Sea” , painted in 1822 but looking very much like it belongs in a mid-20th Century Gallery next to a painting by Mark Rothko:

Pink Sky (After Turner)

Thin paste of rosepetals
Sticks fast  a new sky
Pale sun creeping over the sludged waters
Pale moon fading, blind, a drowned eye
Lost in the lonely dawn. 

No bird speaks, yet an unheard song
Trills over the steely sea
Through which dank prison no flailing oar
Nor silver fin has flashed
To break the still of the lonely dawn

What great regard that God has shown
To have made for us this perfect Eye
This perfect Hand that limns the Earth’s great mould
And envies not His creation’s dazzled reply
To the birth of the lonely dawn. 

Looking at this poem after all these years, I realize that I didn’t know at the time whether it was a depiction of the horizon at dawn or at sunset; I assumed dawn. But the Tate Museum, which owns the painting, says it’s sunset, rendering my poem useless. But I still like it! I guess I could find another Turner painting about dawn and change the title.

Here’s some background on Turner from Biography.com.

 

 

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