Saturday, August 20, 2016

Poet Neil Ellman Meets Paul Klee at a "Fateful Hour"

Fateful Hour at Quarter to Twelve

Eleven o’clock, waiting    
Paul Klee, Fateful Hour at Quarter to Twelve, 1922
Godot in the park, waiting
eleven thirty-five
then forty and forty-five
minutes crawl
like millipedes
on a wall
between tomorrow
and now, still waiting
at this late hour
the coming
of the dragon
in the guise of a child
with the face of an angel
but serpent inside
with fifteen minutes left
to the end of world
as we know it
in the stillness of the morning
as fate had ordained it
at the end of the day
and the end of time.

Adam and Little Eve
Paul Klee, Adam and Little Eve, 1921 

Big Adam, full of himself
with all his ribs and teeth intact
the first of his kind
the first of men
without a woman to call his own
he wanders alone in his garden
picking petals from a rose
with no one to receive them
but himself
he looks as little as a worker bee
sipping nectar from a star.


Coming from a single rib
she must have been a little thing
as little as a hummingbird
so little she could barely speak
above a whisper in the wind
but Eve, the child of a child of God,
is bigger than she looks
the first of her kind
born from a stubborn bone
to rule the world alone.

Botanical Laboratory
Paul Klee, Botanical Laboratory, 1946
In my laboratory
I grew a rose
that could not die
immortal on the vine
as if I were a friend
who would understand
its secret life
how it  would live
through centuries
watching other flowers fade
to know the loneliness
of the setting sun
and sagging of its leaves
nor could it propagate
and watch its children grow—
how sad the rose
that only knows
the solitude of life

eternal on the vine.

A frequent contributor, New Jersey poet Neil Ellman has published more than 1,200 poems, many of which are ekphrastic, in print and online journals, anthologies, and chapbooks throughout the world. His latest chapbook, Mind Over Matta (Flutter Press, 2015), is based on the works of the Chilean abstract-surrealist, Roberto Matta Echaurren.