My friend Dan Gerber just returned from
NYC with great enthusiasm for the play
RED and its evocation of the ways of
Rothko, painter of profundities, and
this caused me to recall an early
poem of homage of mine:
PANELS FOR ROTHKO
Past Egypt's dead he made his way,
past shards and pipers, fragments of kouroi,
smiles on lips of archaic stone
in the humming tombs of the basement galleries;
to preach the righteousness of color,
the plainness at the life of things,
like warmth in food, like hearthfires
in deep caves.
In a suit and tie he painted this:
a meadow where a thousand birds
have gathered in their distances:
an apple that no yearning eye
has gazed upon: a light that comes
from itself, a light from itself alone,
no distillate of shade.
How like a snail a man bequeaths
a hole: a solitude: a cup.
And some a cup that pleasure fills
and overflows, and some a wound
that will not stop, that will not shut
its mouth. Here's driftwood, seasawed down
to honesty. Here's salt, once rock.
Here's silk, spun out of leafmeal
in a worm.