February 24, 2019

Three Poems by Neil Ellman: " Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees", "Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity", and "Symphonic Poem -- Fine Day"

Neil Ellman is a poet from New Jersey. He has published more than 1,500 poems, most of which are based on modern art, in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world. He has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and twice for Best of the Net.attached poems for  Each of these ekphrastic poems are written in response to a work of contemporary Japanese art.

                                 Yayoi Kusama)

Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees
(after the installation by Yayoi Kusama)

In every polka dot a thousand more
each containing multitudes
each a mute and simple speck
and each aspiring to ascend to more
than it could ever realize
and live among the trees
as if they were the trees themselves.

Such arrogance to believe
that they could breathe the morning air
and be as one with living trees
when they are nothing more
than polka dots with delusions
they are more.

                                Yayoi Kusama

Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity
(after the artwork of by Yayoi Kusama)

What follows then?—
a new eternity
born from the fragments
of bone and stars
dark matter and light
as if the first
had never been
and like a newborn child
with soft skin and hope
for a more perfect eternal life
than the one that passed;
or the old
reshuffled, sanitized
and renamed
but much the same
with its fondness
for catastrophe and war?

There is an infinity
of possibilities—
too many eternities
from which to choose
each, like a snowflake,
different from the next,
but it is as certain
as obliteration came
that it had left just one
to resurrect
all time and space
and that we, Adams and Eves,
will bear witness
again and then again
and there will be no choice in it

Symphonic Poem—Fine Day
(after the painting by Saturo Hashegama)

It is a perfect day
to hear the music of the wind
violins gently playing songs on gentler leaves
and chimes mimicking the sound of birds
as if they were birds themselves
a fine day, indeed, to feel the ground
beneath your feet, giving but unyielding,
and clouds changing as we watch
as does the universe itself
a fine day to know the universe
as if it knows your name.

Neil Ellman

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