Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Poet Judith Saunders on Mondrian and Moulene

Over the past 25 years Judith Saunders has published poetry, humor, and reviews in a wide variety of periodicals. Recently her work has appeared in The Mathematical Intelligencer, Blue Unicorn, South Carolina Quarterly, The Christian Science Monitor, Chiron Review, and Snowy Egret. She is the author of two prize-winning chapbook collections of poetry. A long-time resident of the Hudson River Valley, she is Professor of English at Marist College.

Mondrian’s Composition #10

Exhausted by his own geometry
in Compositions 1 through 9,
Mondrian left much undone in 10 . . .
edges missing, boundaries undrawn
. . .  color half-heartedly assigned
to scattered squares (small and few
and inconsequential).  Plainly dispirited,
he abandoned his design, walked away
from this study in unfinished business.
No doubt he meant to return, define
a subject, delineate a theme.
One day soon, perhaps, we may visit
the museum to find that Mondrian,
now rested and restored to his passion
for precision, has roused himself
to action overnight, applied himself
anew to Number 10—extending lines,
completing frames, closing up boxes
of empty space, opening big, bold windows
into worlds of red, or yellow, or blue.

(First published in Blue Unicorn)

At Dia-Beacon:  Body
Jean-Luc Moulene, 2011:  
aluminum, basalt fiber, pigment, resin

Vaguely cylindrical, eluding symmetry,
it conforms to no known shape.

It could almost be a boat or blimp.
Its bulging surface gleams, a blinding white

relieved by slicing color, brash blasts
of red and blue and orange.  It could be

the world’s largest water toy, over-inflated.
Any moment it might rise to the ceiling

of this cavernous building, seeking escape
from square-shaped blandness, the beige-on-white

monotony of Dia-Beacon, this factory-turned museum.
Clearly it doesn’t belong.  Obstreperously

psychedelic, it could be a home for hippies
when they tire of living in a yellow submarine.

Shall we paste on flower decals, salvaged
from an old VW bus, and take a trip

in this Skymobile?  It will slue from side
to side, tracing cockeyed patterns

in the air, a solar-powered strobe lamp
surveying a tie-dyed world.  If it’s

a time machine, it’s big enough
to ferry us all to the Summer of Love.

(First published in Chiron Review)

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