Ao Ra – Morning Light
Ao Ra, Morning Light
Hangs on my living room wall
In Christmas Eve’s late afternoon sun,
A promise of what is to come.
I see the willowy arms of Star,
Stretching up to apply a red undercoat,
Then further thick layers of paint
So that, as in Sydney Nolan’s art,
Light shimmers beneath the opaque.
And, as Tane created the first wahine
From Hawaiki’s soil and sand,
So Star mixes into her oils
Ochre and clay from Pakiri
To create she of the inner and outer land.
And hues of gold and white and blue,
And tangerine, silver, and green
Tangle, but enrich this Garden of Eden
In which a Chagallian Bathsheba or Eve
Stands awaiting, naked and dreaming,
Head and eyes downcast, seemly,
Alone, yet able to be seen . . .
While behind her, van Gogh’s cypresses twist and turn.
Symbols of eternal life, they also mourn,
And on each side his chrysanthemums, perilously full-blown,
Evoke the Mother and Christ, her son, in their very name.
And from Star’s hands emerge two silvery hands
That cross the young woman with a lily, pure and white,
So that she, the virginal chosen one,
As yet unaware of a fall and death,
Awaits the light, and he who will emerge
From beneath the layers of paint and earth.
But this personal poetic response, and maybe Star
Fade into insignificance, transcended as they are
By that which, hangs on my living room wall,
Fusing painterly technique, myth, and the ephemeral
In Christmas Eve’s late afternoon sun –
A promise of He who will come.
Vivien Van Rij
Vivien was born and brought up in Aotearoa New Zealand. Her first career was as a performing artist during which she travelled the world, working in professional theatre in places as diverse as Europe and North Africa. Vivien's second career was as an academic lecturer in English in Education at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and she has a doctorate and several published scholarly articles to her name. Now that she has retired, Vivien has time to pursue her ongoing interest in the visual and performing arts and literature, and to write poetry. She particularly enjoys writing poetry about art works by Star Gossage.
The Ekphrastic Review
Find a writer, artist, or poem, etc. by searching here: