Movement in Squares

Laura Bloomsbury at dVerse challenges us with “Poetics: The Poet as Painter”: She writes, “For those of you who like an extra challenge, then only after you have completed Part 1 [using only the title of one of the given paintings], look up the artwork link of your title choice and write a second part to your poem as ekphrastic.” The title and painting I chose: Bridget Riley’s “Movement in Squares.”


Movement in Squares

I’ve seen movement in squares
when no one’s looking:

peeling yellow edges, masks removed
the triangulation of centers multiplying
or rounding a buttery corn on a cob
a cluster of seedless green
glowing grapes sunlit
reifying corners into succulence
the pear juice piercing sweet
the sticky drippings of watermelon seeds
mathematical

Movement in Squares, 1961 - Bridget Riley
Movement in Squares, 1961 – Bridget Riley

I’ve seen movement in squares
when everyone’s looking:

until they march row after row
checkerboard cells of interlocking
black and white, marching in step
devolving, eliminating, disappearing
into folds of antiseptic non-existence
squares no longer, inching lines
rectangular, a comedy of illusion
designed to perpetrate a hoax
teleological

careful, my friend, around squares
there is no end of desire
finally

Van Gogh’s Yellow

Mish at dVerse’s “Poetics” asks us to take on the persona of a color, “imagine what they see . . . . slip out of our human bodies and become nothing but a color.” So it is written, so it is done, but in the voice of one particular color, Vincent van Gogh’s yellow.

Van Gogh died in July 1890 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

Vincent Van Gogh, Wheatfield with Crows (July 1890)

When you turn to me away from Rachel
For whom you sheared your face of an ear
Isn’t the world brighter, like sunflowers?
And the walls of your house in Arles
Lavishly canvased, as the awnings
As cafés, bedframes, straw hats, sunsets
I am the light running before you
Swirling you up to starry nights and moons
Away from the blackness of eyes
That never see you like I have seen you
Radiant in the waving fields of wheat
Until the day you clasp your hands
Round the ochred skin of despair.

Vincent Van Gogh, Sorrowing Old Man (‘At Eternity’s Gate’), 1890

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Reverie

Seated Woman, 1915 by Rik Wouters (1882-1916)

Time rebounds in dabs of paint
Watery sun soaks through space
Sensations blur
Colors seep
Diminishing lines
Reflections slur
Your hands, your face
Gaze untendered
Unbristled, still
A warm attention
Encompassing all
Formidable will
Probing memory
Dark sublime
Time rebounds in dabs of paint.


Written for D'verse, WhimsyGizmo's Quadrille (44 words)
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