Monday, May 30, 2016

Neil Ellman- Three Poems


Introducing the Miracle

(after the gouache by Paul Klee)

There are too few miracles
that have the substance of a tree
its revelation of wood and leaf
the bend of its branches
in the wind
and history rooted
in the earth
no coincidence or accident—
of bleeding stone
but flesh and blood
fire and ice
a newborn child  
like a star
in a palpable sky.


Circus Sideshow

(after the painting by Georges Seurat)

I am no weirder than you
and you than me.

We are pinheaded brothers
under reptilian skin

and in the marrow
of our misshapen bones

half-woman, half-man
connected at the hips

we are no weirder
than a platypus

a giraffe on fire
in a surrealist’s dream

the croaking sound
that a bullfrog makes

and the path of light
as it bends around the sun—

how ordinary we are
under the circus tent 

alongside elephants
and human cannonballs                    

in the sideshow
that is life.


City of Churches

(after the pencil/watercolor by Paul Klee)

In the city of churches
gods walk
among the shadows of steeples
and spires
like ordinary men
unrecognizable, nondescript    
to toil in the shops and fields
with nothing of the manners
and attitude
that speak of their divinity—
in the city of churches
all men are gods
under a stained glass sky.


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