Friday, April 1, 2011

Inner Landscape #16-Depth

Digital print from a pastel on newspaper paper,
the original pastel has been destroyed, 12 by 17 inches.

The Shape of Death

What does love look like? We know
the shape of death. Death is a cloud
immense and awesome. At first a lid
is lifted from the eye of light:
there is a clap of sound, a white blossom

belches from the jaw of fright,
a pillared cloud churns from white to gray
like a monstrous brain that bursts and burns,
then turns sickly black, spilling away,
filling the whole sky with ashes of dread;

thickly it wraps, between the clean sea
and the moon, the earth's green head.
Trapped in its cocoon, its choking breath
we know the shape of death:
Death is a cloud.

What does love look like?
Is it a particle, a star -
invisible entirely, beyond the microscope and Palomar?
A dimension unimagined, past the length of hope?
Is it a climate far and fair that we shall never dare

discover? What is its color, and its alchemy?
Is it a jewel in the earth-can it be dug?
Or dredged from the sea? Can it be bought?
Can it be sown and harvested?
Is it a shy beast to be caught?

Death is a cloud,
immense, a clap of sound.
Love is little and not loud.
It nests within each cell, and it
cannot be split.

It is a ray, a seed, a note, a word,
a secret motion of our air and blood.
It is not alien, it is near-
our very skin-
a sheath to keep us pure of fear.

a poem by May Swenson


William Evertson said...

Beautiful image to couple with the poem.

Susan Shulman said...

Your poetry and art are outstanding, beautifully crafted with enormous emotion pouring out from the page;-)

Cynthia said...

Really lovely, Ria. Very powerful