On Viewing a Self-Portrait by Picasso
I pause at your self-portrait, transfixed
by the black luminosity of your eyes--
and recall that you once asserted
in the hubris of your prodigious vision,
“I do not seek, I find.” Indeed,
your eyes reflect, not the anguish
of a mystic’s longing, but
the child’s unblinking fascination
with a world already there.
You find these visibles and consider them
eternally, so it is always your eyes we see--
from those of Avignon’s demoiselles, who
compel us to find the ferocity of beauty
to those of Guernica’s martyrs, who cast sight
out and away from the horror of our time.
They, too, are self-portraits, yet
you remain to us strangely mute; as if,
overcome by some vast astonishment,
you can never tell us what you found--
whether it be too great or too terrible
Allen Helmstetter lives in the United States in rural Minnesota . He loves the rivers, woods, and fields there, and after hiking the trails is often inspired to write about the relationships between nature, technology, and the human spirit. He has been published in North Coast Review, Willawaw Journal, Ariel Chart, and Bulb Culture Collective.
The Ekphrastic Review
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