Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Marsden Hartley's Romance with the Maine Coast

Marsden Hartley (January 4, 1877 - September 2, 1943) was an American Modernist painter, poet, and essayist. In addition to being considered one of the foremost American painters of the first half of the 20th century, Hartley also wrote poems, essays, and stories. His book Twenty-Five Poems was published by Robert McAlmon in Paris in 1923. Viking published his Selected Poems in 1945. "In Robin Hood Cove" is one of 12 poems he wrote about his own paintings. 
Robin Hood Cove, Georgetown, Maine

In Robin Hood Cove
The tide comes in, and out goes tide;
it skirts the cliffs, and in their shadow sees
the remnants of the days that fall
between a seagull's and a robin's call.

There is the bridge, and under flows

the rests of evening with its primulous
shows
it is a river made of listless sea
after it has explained its fierce integrity;
no thunder makes, or on rock heaves
it learns the place for plain humility,
and keeps reflection of some mindless
leaves.

These evening greens
that gather wistfully among
the ripening coronals of summer
when rain has done its streaming

and the sea has washed back
its waters into these little cities
made of whispered wish

and gentle, seabird thought, homely consecration;
airs vibrant with the felt glimmer of a day
gone down to glory of a sunken yesterday; 

night stepping in, soft-shod and separate
Storm Clouds, Maine
in her smooth design;

these evening greens
that gather wistfully, making melody
of nothings in their tuneful
 
prime.

More on Hartley





painters and poets

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