Have just wrapped up my ekphrastic poetry workshop at the Baltimore Museum of Art, which will culminate in a reception with a poetry reading to close the exhibition Looking Through the Lens, photographs, 1900-1960. I had 8 terrific poets who really threw themselves into the form. I am terribly impressed with their skill and passion. I've been asked to open the program with a poem of my own inspired by the exhibit, so am sharing the piece and the photograph.
PROLOGUE TO A SAD SPRING
after a photograph by Edward Weston
We might mock the gothic, silent
movie look of it except for the tree—
laughing with all its dark tongues,
abandoned to its own black
lightning. Beside it, the woman
is a premonition of loss. She gives
her lover an anxious look,
edging towards the freedom
of the shadow, where the tree will
catch then cast her into a storm-
smudged sky of flying or falling—
her choice. Only in this mirror
backed by the sun can those of us
who have posed for the last
photograph in love, though the end
was years away, see what he won’t—
how she’s already crossed over,
how the lines of body and branches
mark the hour, the image a clock,
frozen at the time of leaving.
Christine Stewart, Copyright 2008, All Rights Reserved.