Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mad Country of Colors

The Lake of Lucerne, Moonlight, 
the Rigi in the Distance (c. 1841)
—Paintings by Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775-1851
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


Invincible paint
of sky blue haze
with patches of hilly light
splashed on my eyes
still dripping
in my admiring gestures
at the museum's portraits
and now on film
with students surrounding us
at close distance
with questions,
but who can answer
the uncovering of genius.


Shivering sparrows
in my camera's flash light
from the heights of trees
by cosmic intuition
of unexplored waterfalls
by the ocean air
escaping my riffs
in a woodwind of fragility
testing my own shapeless
knowledge of words
in pictures of being alive.

 Snow Storm: Steam Boat Off the Harbour's Mouth (c. 1942)

(For Jorge Guillen,
born Jan. 18, 1893)

Entangled by words
and a metaphors
in a divine parachute
and wounded umbrellas
in the Spanish rain
among sister's wild roses
you wave by the seas
nodding to adolescence
among the presence
of grinning sunflowers
foraging for a glimpse
of bread in a green day
fleeing the charnel house
by knives of civil war
you dream and tremble
for simple things
like butterflies
in the mountains
escaping bitter troubles,
no memory holds you back
among gardens
of scattered ashes
against the quiet river's mouth.



Motioning my last poem
from my first sight read
green eyes open notes
played all night
huddled now
by shadows of grackles
in front of my doorway
on a bicycle ride
over my exercises
predicates a new existence
as my sax
turn the page
by the wood stove
of last night's attention
in soliciting jazz
as the thawed hearth opens up
though a window's voice
as an early boat goes by
in the home harbor
searching for lobsters.

 The Grand Canal in Venice (1835)

(Born Jan. 22, 1788)

Half-watching the film
Gothic by Ken Russell
with Byron and Shelley
in a horror flick
as Mary thinks on
her future novel Frankenstein
born from these scenes
in nightmarish recognition
from mad flaming curiosity
in a mad country of colors
surprising us
even in abandoned sleepiness
in random uncertainties
we watch with red eye
emoting acting embraces
over flower beds of shadows
wishing to remember poets
with the shine of mirrors
beyond dicey tantrums to share
motioning us for our betters
with men and women
of letters who linger long after
as black comic laughter
falls on us dusting
over a heavy dream world
in sequences of tomorrow's awaking.


(Born Jan. 31, 1915)

On fourteen stations
in a retreat
from the nations
needing to get away
for a noonday's walk
looking up to the stars
and constellations
longing for an angel's presence
and visitations
living in imagination
and nature's shadows
out on the abbey's road
where the young clergyman
after a none's liturgy
sanctions a poet's time
in his own integrity
as a woman in blue
worn from a nun's lovely habit
offers roses and carnations
the day's life becomes all new.

 Petworth Park: Tillington Church in the Distance

(Born Jan. 27, 1756)

My memory
of conducting Mozart
when the baton
embraced my hand
picturing rolling waves
facing surfers in the Pacific
to calm down,
mounting the platform
in my new Italian shoes
on high steps
amid a hushed hall
in my first tux
as the concert lights
go down
with my family
music teachers
and tenacious critics
from the daily newspapers
in the scrupulous audience,
Mozart's spiral of notes
pervades my floating soul
as the solo clarinetist plays
the Concerto in A Major
amid the raucous applause,
and after the party
of laughter from wine,
croissants and cheese
go home and write verse
knowing then the connection
of a tasty bridge
between music and poetry.


Today's LittleNip(s):

Reality only reveals itself when it is illuminated by a ray of poetry.
—George Braque

The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.
—James Gate Percival

Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.
—Marianne Moore



Turner in His Studio
[For more about JMW Turner, see]