To an Artist of Ardent Alchemy
after Winter Landscape Painting
Vibrates in you a light invisible to my eyes—
myriad lights: virginal white zeal of the skyline,
daubs of primrose blushing, bleeding into pink bloom,
gold vermilion pennons gashing, flashing against
pale blue skerries of ice, more like a prism spinning
white-spanned shine into a rainbow spine that cuts
the hand holding its fires than a hearth’s blue
bleak embers that fall, gall themselves into glory;
higher up, a duskier mellowness waxing deeper,
more delicious: milky purple fresh-steamed taro
mashed with startling magenta pitahaya, dashes
of ripe papaya. The zenith is a half-shadowed
delft blue plate holding all this ebullient copia
in equipoise. What does your mind make of this
and the mazy glows reflected on sculpted slopes
of snow, an element light has to scrape harder
than air because heavier, coarser, tamping down
plant relics, but blazoned with opalescent crystals
of a flora all its own? Are you staring into centers
of water lilies, putting your ear to flaring clarions
of daffodils, straining your neck under a trellised
cathedral dome of wisteria, cardinal creeper,
hummingbird vine and bougainvillea? Do you
reminisce on a hike up the same mountain
in autumn, where a single rustle of your boots
upset a cluster of gentians’ white china goblets
and spilled a wreath of azure flames, scorching
leather with Persephone’s ghost? Hopkins would’ve
glimpsed the word inscape in your winter landscape,
where you burn down with ardent brushstrokes
stark abysms of frost, solder fall’s bare bottom
and the brink of spring with Vergissmeinnichts,
scumble them into one whole vision, one reverie
shimmering with coral, cyan, lilac, lemon, auburn,
organic kaleidoscope at the apotheosis of orgy.
Yours is not a mind of winter, or rather, not winter
alone. Thou art lightning and love, I found it,
a winter and warm. What you paint are the voices
of those sunset-swathed, alpenglow-gowned, starry-
sharded conifers gone suddenly tropical with blue
morphos red admirals and gemmed hummers
crying out Glory be to God for dappled things--
and Leon, because you make it so, winter is warm,
soft with sun, acicular scintillas selving as leaves.
O Christ, Miraculous Light, come to these trees
bared of tinsel, baptize them with pied beauty.
after Finding Tranquility
Gently I wake, walk towards the mountain lake.
Autumn’s mild ardency has calmed its flame.
I rest my hand on the canvas, feel a pink ache
flicker across the flesh, make a phantom frame
for the sweet expanse of blue, rutilant clouds
diffusing dazzling warmth to wisps of rose,
smoky crimson smudging downy undersides,
shadows relieving more the exuberant glows.
The mountain stands carved in lapis lazuli,
coolly backlit, retreating into tacit black.
Pines and firs have veiled themselves fully
in textureless mystery. Crocus, mauve, lilac
flecks flitter stilly in the unleafing grove.
Hand stilled in exhaustion, trance, or love.
My body feels ambered in turpentine love
mingled from my easel and the pine grove.
Water breathes as if asleep. Fragrant lilac
memories sweep my face like veils fully
swathing a bride. Her hidden eyes are black
as woods in twilit lake, or are they lapis lazuli?
Lambent shadows damask her serene glows.
She is nearby, yet I could not touch her sides--
her warmth is diffused like shed petals of rose.
In watery reflections she wanders like clouds,
Restlessly tranquil. Her image cannot be framed.
The lake shudders. With rapture, or is it ache?
I hum to my painting, oh my fierce gentle flame.
Fresh, awake, I walk towards the mountain lake.
L’Air, La Mer
after Evening Ride
Irrefutable light in his backturned eyes
illusions of white--
Rainbow hidden in his horse’s mane
radiant as pain
as they wade into the night--
Night’s portal prismatic with blood,
plashing at the low tide--
To sempiternal somwhere, everywhere,
l’air, la mer,
out for an evening ride.
after Sunset Vibrations
Sing the grasses:
let evening come.
Let evening come
on wings of surging clouds.
Let light plash their plumes.
Let light dash itself
into infinitesimal grains
each its fantastic hue.
Let evening come
briefly to bury time
in colourful composts
of inflamed airborne water.
Let the sky’s banquet begin.
Lay out the bouquets.
Pile high the fruit baskets.
Scatter rinds to the wind.
We are the dark silhouettes
of stalks and spat out seeds.
We grow in fecund humus
fermented from light’s decay.
We swish lushly
in sky’s dazzling soil.
Evening is the season
we sprout, flourish, sing.
Evening’s garden abloom,
We fly on rooted wings.
Lucie Chou is an ecopoet working in mainland China. Currently an undergraduate majoring in English language and literature, she is also interested in the ecotone between ekphrasis and ecopoetics. Her work has appeared in the Entropy Magazine, the Black Earth Institute Blog, Sky Island Journal, the Tiny Seed Journal, and in the Plant Your Words Anthology published by Tiny Seed Press. A poem is forthcoming in from Tofu Ink Arts, both in print and online. She has published a debut collection of ecopoetry, Convivial Communiverse, with Atmosphere Press. She hikes, gardens, and studies works of natural history by Victorian writers with gusto.
The Ekphrastic Review
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