Friday, May 12, 2006

Lucas Cranach the Elder

One of my favorite artists is Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-October 16, 1553).

Recently, while in Frankfurt I was able to see several of his works and I reacted to them viscerally just as I do to the expressionists.

The painting included here is his Adam and Eve, which I saw at the Uffizi in Florence last year. One critic in the museum noted that this painting illustrates a "cold eroticism" and Eve's cruelty.

As I work through my Adam and Eve cycle of poems, I often imagine my characters just as Cranach presents them: sensual, exquisite, emotional, and cruel.

In that regard, I am including my latest poem in this cycle.


Winter falls as a flat frozen flake on her tongue,
and black birds strip the bushes of their berries.

I find a fish frozen in the mud of a beaver’s pond
and scrap it free from the clay with a clamshell.

She squats in a hedge for warmth
and moans, cursing the snake that betrayed her.

I gut the fish and spy a speckled star shaped shell;
I hold it to my ear and listen as the red lion roars
and three seabirds struggle over the offal.

The longhaired bison pass through the night
and awaken me from a dream. I pick up the shell
to listen to the north star whispering,
as snows smothers the earth.

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