Friday, November 15, 2013

Poet Ken Pobo, Odilon Redon, and Rene Magritte

Kenneth Pobo’s poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Mudfish, The Cider Press Review, The Fiddlehead, and Hawaii Review, among literary journals. His chapbook Placemats is forthcoming from Eastern Point Press. His poetry collection Introductions appeared in 2003, Ordering: A Season in My Garden in 2001. 
Ken Pobo teaches literature and creative writing at Widener University in Chester, PA. He received the prestigious Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2007. 

Bust of a Man Asleep Amid Flowers
by Odilon Redon
Bust of a Man Asleep Amid
Flowers, Date Unknown
Before he falls asleep, he and his
sweetheart have tea.  She’s been angry
with him all day.  When they reconcile,

kind of, he slips out to the prairie,
sits with the moon, having tea
with her sweetheart, while Saturn undresses. 

The man hopes he won’t dream,
sees himself as Pegasus, but no
winged creature ever visits at night. 

Most of life is drab, like old linoleum—
tonight, again, no rescue comes,
but poppies, daisies, and roses sneak up,

open buds wide, shield him from sprites
that play practical jokes.  In the morning
he tells his sweetheart that he’s forgotten

his dream.  He walks to the cramped shop
in town which barely survives
year after year, shelves holding glass

figurines he makes in the back room,
animals, flowers, and heroes that dream
about their maker, love and fear him.

Ophelia Among the Flowers, 1905-08

Ophelia Among the Flowers
by Odilon Redon

To clarify the dreams of flowers,
an interpreter often gets wounded,

a single hand hurt in the dark. 
I gave up hope, knew that the rose

would offer secrets to me, a woman
carried away by a stiff current.  Are you

losing hope too?  Here, take this garland
that I made when I learned that the sun

warms only corpses.  No forget-me-not
shies away from a cemetery plot—

they bloom in the breath of who
you loved. 

Morning breaks.  Look—
an impossible garden overhead.

The Birth of the Idol, 1926

The Birth of the Idol
by Rene Magritte

Land runs away from water, preferring
the comforts of lemon squares and tea
among Victorian houses.  The mannequin

chooses between water’s wild whips
and the land whose hornets hang
like pendants, wishes

that undialed days would last,
has tried to give birth for centuries—
it’s uncomfortable to wait that long,

so it follows the wind’s hoofprints
back to Eden, still flowering, still
off limits, a closed park to sneak into.   

Read Pobo’s essay “Poets Among the Stones” here

painters and poets

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