Thursday, February 09, 2017

Return, Return, Return

Recumbent Figure, 1938
—Sculpture by Henry Moore


An amiable inventor
of monumental bronze
and semi-abstract stone,
progenitor in sculpture
we remember your photos
encrypted by the dead
of those who are alive
and survive the Nazi
onslaught in the blitz
you entered our lives
in London and Europe
as we atone in hope
to forgive
the blood feuds of the past
the snakes of crime
awake from your architecture
to unmask the sum
in our consistent armor
of transparency
at a time's continuum
to realize the gift
of cultural clarity
imbued with your pictures
which slip into humanity
to lift up with charity
in an artistic appearance
by your artifacts
from the dust
on our mirrors in history
from justice of human figures
which may rust
or are iced in part
yet it is to Henry Moore
from his art of sacrifice
in an oeuvre and subject
as a starring object d' art
amid a convenience
of an abject critical time
between war and peace
that we feel your absence
in the trust of your pupils
over the windowsills
from our nerves and eye
as our whisperer fulfills
in the drawing curves
that we in awe in art
spans your many year
momentum of your élan
to impart as we watch
you serve and imbibe.

 The Smokers, 1911
—Painting by Fernand Léger


Not afraid to believe
in your patches
in a field of primary
colors or photos
in your movie sets
or painting snatches
us a forerunner
of pop art
painting in the dawn
The Smokers
influenced by Cézanne
in his salon
passing his new focus
touring in a landscape
shaping him at Montparnasse
or in the new cubism
as in Three Musicians
a Tree in the Ladder
from a new progenitor
in polychrome
in a miracle of stained glass
from a dome
set in costume and design
of murals drawn at home.

 Variation on Games in the Snow
—Painting by Alfred Manessier, 1951


Granting us a spring day
in Paris
for those of us
not embarrassed to say
we who revere a glass-stained
miracle in a new Mosaic
back from his bay
window out to the sky
or searching in the shadows
for Manessier's art
in a cape at the Nord church
in part a catholic
language all our own
as a forerunner of pop art
who was influenced
in nature's part
there stopping by
fjord by juniper trees
with dying hyacinth
near birch branches
watching birds mount
up to an early winter
congenial sky
as a beggar in the breeze
listens intently
to my riffs
of American jazz
he starts to yawn
in a swift nick of time
before a January sunset
when he quietly
picks off a variety
of menial fruits
boasting in his contrary mind
as if waiting for the stars
he starts to freeze
catching cold by night
in a casual storm off
the coastal Seine
by an outside tent
under light rain and snow
others share warm nights
enfolding us at ease.

 Portrait of Ponge by Jean Dubuffet, 1947


Your five-star portraits
in oil paints
of your poet friends
Michaux, Ponge, Matisse,
and Jean Paulhan,
who was also literary critic
waiting on his library bench
who translated the poetry
of Madagascar into French
draws on ordinary life
or low art in our culture
took his risk and chance
in a fascist time
of crime and insanity
was in the Resistance,
picked up new skill
traveled to Brazil and Italy
juxtaposing thick oils
soiled with passing sand
passing cement, straw
sticks, pebbles and gravel
and glass in hand
in his art show
as in parts of an antipasto
for his raw art.

 René Crevel


A turn-of-the-century clock
in the flux of sidereal time
of the spark
upon the vernal equinox
signs into a surreal return,
return, return
and in an annual spring out
from a miracle birthmark
over a thousand dark crimes
against the personal chain
of the unorthodox novelist
René Crevel
his twisted memory
whose love for knowledge
will remain,
on our necklace and wrist
as time regains in Proust,
we have all cut loose
over a short life
of the courageous Jean Hélion
covering all painters
and elevated and celebrated
poets whom the Fascists
cannot capture
for we resist
in the spirit for art's sake
which may be fashionable,
but once it captures you
Fascism cannot break us
into an idolatry without hope
from Prussia to Russia
Europe and the Americas
you too are honorably graced
forever enraptured
covering a world of rebellion
as in the 1968 resistance
a live-and-die-hard chance
of a quick toast to Lamartine
we are bards with red wine
a day away
from the Paris crowds
with Rimbaud in the Commune
along highways burning
with fires of dissolution
in the shroud of a rainbow
always leaving early
at the miracle of revolution
of its poet's avant guard
Rene Crével also owes
his convolution
and sure conviction
for all time
cleverly learning well
in a prediction
to survive with power
from his narrative
to keep us alive
yearning with predictions
of a vanguard desire
to be sharing your fiction
and soon icon-bashing
in a mature sunshine
at an activist hour
by a rock garden
of the Tuileries
to deflower laughter
in the afternoon
and pardon with mine
under the half moon.

 Jean Cortot

Today’s LittleNip:

JEAN CORTOT (1925- )

In the snow
at a Paris bench
I read an art catalog
in shadows of reflection
as an illustrator
in the shadows
for my play's dialogue
of a poet and painter.


Our thanks to B.Z. Niditch for today’s poetic inspirations! For more about today’s artists, see:

Henry Moore:
Fernand Léger:
Jean Debuffet:
Jean Hélion:
Jean Cortot:

For more about French surrealist writer René Crevel, see



 Celebrate art and poetry and the art OF poetry tonight 
down at Luna’s Cafe, 8pm, or in Old Sac at 
The Ultimate Love Jones Experience, also 8pm. 
Scroll down to the blue column (under the green 
column at the right) for info about this and other 
upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that 
more may be added at the last minute.

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
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