Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Neil Ellman Meets Paul Klee's "Wild Man"

A frequent contributor to P&P, New Jersey poet Neil Ellman has published more than 1,350 poems—most of which are ekphrastic—in print and online journals, anthologies, and chapbooks throughout the world.  His latest chapbook, Of Angels & Demons (Flutter Press), is an ekphrastic collection based on the works of Paul Klee. Read an interview with Ellman in which he explains his life-long fascination with writing poems about art. Click here.

The Future Man
Klee, 1933
(after the Watercolor by Paul Klee)

He will be neither man nor machine
neither illusion nor material
not a new beginning nor an end.

He will have neither passion
nor the capacity for thought—.
he will be an afterthought

Without character or a name
he will have no sense of who
or what he is

taking any form
that suits his momentary needs
without conscience or remorse.

The Future Man will be
a cipher, a fallen star
the consequence of his past.
Klee, 1922

The Wild Man

(after the watercolor by Paul Klee)

The man in the wilderness
is wilder than the trees
wilder still
than the creatures
that inhabit
the forest, moor
desert and prairie
is a man possessed
by his natural state
venom in his fangs
a rattle in his tail
the wilderness consuming
his humanity
as it retrieves
its spires and pyramids.

The Man of Confusion

(after the watercolor by Paul Klee)

Disembodied, disillusioned
Klee, 1939
by the pallor of his skin
and tremors in his hands
an aging man is easily confused
by a shadow without the sun     
and the moon without its glow

too easily bewildered
by the flight of crows and ravens
on a black-star night   
or the way a river bends
toward light

he knows the end is near
but not the reason
or the road to take
confused by creation
the dissonance of his life
and the voice of death from air.

Gaze of Silence

(after the watercolor by Paul Klee)
Gaze of Silence, 1932
In silence
eyes gaze within
and without
words and expectations
without knowing
what is there to know
but seeing, believing
the images in the clouds
as if they were real
without comment
knowing they are not
in silence
the eyes gaze
like the Sphinx
over a desolate land.