Arthur Dove, 1942
Call it a boundary, better yet, an edge
call it the line where difference dovetails
then meets and melds and morphs,
the space where one becomes another.
Call it a road, a route, a means of moving
the transposition from one place to the next
the flow from east to west, west to east
the ceaseless action along the glacial line.
Watch the glacier stop then soften then recede
while melting. See how the harbor hill moraine
traces a trail across the fish-shaped island
charting the verge where the shape
of who I am at home touches
the shape of who I am at work.
A mother’s motion to a daughter’s being
both alone and wed, both native and exile.
The line dividing the circle that I am
into shades of rose and hues of indigo.
A road, a route, a means of moving
commuting and communing
while trapezoids traps circles
sliced by triangles of red light
green light yellow light blue light
all light, then wax emulsion, the roots
of milk inside, spreading waxy milk,
milky wax, making and remaking.
Dove, your cottage, just north,
yet close enough to hear and see
and smell the burning gas.
We say a good day is a day
spent north of 25-A.
This means we don’t venture
too far from our shore.
This means we remain
in walking distance.
This means we stay
close to home.
Arthur Dove, 1924
Reds always said he was a morning person,
that he was most alive in the rising sun…
– Mary Torr Rehm
Some friend said you had a halo round your head.
Maybe that’s what happens when you worship
sun and moon, when you spend each day on the sea,
seeing things twice, real and reflection, both become
actual, unquestionable, worthy of paint and line
and glaze and perception. For all his gabbing,
when Emerson said nature was the body of God,
I think he was on to something. Art is the pew
where we kneel day and pray, poetry the incense
we burn to clap our senses awake. Halo a word
used by the ancients, the discs of light surrounding
both sun and moon, and it seems, you too--
look at all the circle work, ascending orbs, prism
palette—I hear a lark, an ode, a morning song.
Happy Clam Shell
Arthur Dove, 1938
These are Asharoken colours:
tans, browns, a hint of pink,
seaweed crisped by a sun bake.
All that quartz and feldspar
pounded to inconsistent sizes,
deposited and delivered here.
The sand holds the sun. It does.
And that’s why things all over this earth
look like concentric circles
and radiate light. A happy clam.
A human head. Eyes and a smile.
Dove, this is your element,
a clam like a loaf of bread.
The salt of the earth
swigging slime, breathing
Jesse Curran is a poet, essayist, scholar, and teacher who lives in Northport, NY. Her essays and poems have appeared in a number of literary journals including After the Art, About Place, Allium, and Still Point Arts Quarterly. She teaches in the English Department at SUNY Old Westbury. www.jesseleecurran.com
The Ekphrastic Review
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