Thursday, December 08, 2016

No Death in the Wise

—Paintings by Hubert Robert (1733-1808)
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


Waking up
Sunday morning
hearing Bach's
"Coffee Cantata"
while partaking
from a bone China cup myself,
imagining I'm in Leipzig
thinking of all lyrical,
musical kegs of wealth
you have given me
drinking in
all the bubbled hidden dregs,
extending the olive branch
reaching out from the table
with candid fabled quotes
of forbidden griefs
played under these piano legs
in miracle quarter notes
and made to beg and barter
from my boastful beliefs
to have been reviled
and defiled,
knowing the charter of life
and language of the exiled
now reconciled
to the Lord's loving relief
once sown as wild oats
returning back to you,
yearning in repentance
as if a poet needs to atone
as children abandoned by sleep
in a deposited deep slumber
from a yawning metamorphosis
when in my kitchen
pantry's closet
making toast, cheese
eggs, sausage and coffee
this dawn of a raw December.



Listening to Casals
play Bach on his cello
evening sheds its light
as songbirds cross the sky
in a throng going South
as if in a last lament
of our own heartbeat
in a murmur of love
from our own mouth
spoken in a language
with no written words
in a melody over
Venice's icy canals
and many convents’ high bells
as the wind's breeze
motions the crimson leaves
to be sent off Oak trees.

 The Shepherd


We live by the waters
over Cape Cod
seeing the homeless
in the woods
some in squalor
today asking others
for change or a dollar
knowing an activist
unveils his spirit words
and change
like St. Francis
my comrade
who deposits his verse
for generations to come
for whom nothing
without love is strange
in his poet's consolation
as he feeds the birds
on harvest fields
where crimson leaves
fall from the birches
only to arrange his words
in thanksgiving
from his wish to rejoice
like my own heart
with one Beat voice
to impart and believe
in forgiving
as he washes the feet
of sisters and brothers
in a sacrifice to God.

 Jardin d'une Villa Italienne, 1764


Sharing your ravishment
as a painter of landscape,
canals and ruins
you shape an age
of rape, banishment
amid bacchanals and revolution
in a language of demolition
among royalty and prison
your loyalty was to art
in a versatile definition
of a bravura style
as a watercolorist
and garden designer
among prisoners
in a conflation
as your nation's pundit
amid the mystic grays
with the poets
André Chénier
Antoine Roucher
and the princess of Monaco
in your capriccio
at last fallen to apoplexy
with your last brush in hand
such was your past discipline
once called by Diderot
"Robert of the Ruins."

 A Scene in the Grounds of the
Villa Farnese, Rome

(for Edmund de Waal)

Dazzling fragments
in your parents’ time
seventy-five years ago
since the Nazis
took over Vienna
your life stored
in memory
and archives inspection
you became
a porcelain maker
from a Japanese connection
soon your objects
will be on exhibition
in America
as you are searching
for your identity
remembering the looting
of your family's wealth
by exuberant fascist rants
of stealth and lies
as he writes
The Hare with Amber Eyes
with all his tension
in his artistic invention
juxtaposed with Picasso,
Fontana and Miro
you also love
the German poet Paul Celan
as you go on in secret
watching the pendulum
of this age's passing clocks
without any regrets in part
by your interposing
anything even slightly unorthodox
in a runny metamorphosis
of liquid silence
forming reality and humanity
in a spotlight paradox
from the momentum of art.

 The Teatro Delle Acque in the Garden of 
the Villa Aldobrandini


Inside the perimeter
of the locker room
Stan the man
with his quicker moves
on the basketball court
amazed at his moves
and all his shots
like Michael Jordan
secure in his spots
with his business fans
in the stands
grins with laughter
after his skin in the game
moves us and he reacts
as any character actor
with the camera on
in a colorful video
at this gambling den
in Reno, Nevada
always making bets
by the hallway's nets
not taking the losing blame
as any good killer star
and smooth operator would,
then we play checkers
though quieter
I'm taking it all in
as a poet on the chin
to see you win again.

 Paysage, 1787


His theatrical
urban eyes redden
when he is bedridden
for behind his Celtic
forbidden winding vision
opens a cyclic immortality
as this critic says
"a clever poet's hands' breath
glows on his words
and will never fail
in a metamorphosis
to atone for human kind
nor will his Gaelic dream”.
Yeats cannot shed his wish
for an Irish republic
even as his cult of personality
still rises by the misty lake
reflected his humanity
as a bird awakes
over Innisfree's paradise
rising above nature's miracles
by a lone selfish Adamic tree
searching for Eve,
let love arise by his bones
and be Yeats' legacy
to we who believe
there is no death
in the wise.


Today’s LittleNip:

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.

—Pablo Picasso


Our thanks to B.Z. Niditch for today’s fine poems. For more about "Robert of the Ruins" (Hubert Robert), go to (I suppose I should've posted more of his "ruins" paintings, but I drifted off into his pastorales...)

To hear Bach’s “Coffee Cantata” go to 


Third-grader's fish, in a take on Paul Klee.
Celebrate Poetry—and Art—and Music…! 
And don’t forget that Patrick Grizzell will read 
at Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe tonight, 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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