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Ekphrastic Poems by Neil Ellman
Vol. 12


The Apples Become Morning

The Apples become morning by Roberto Matta

painting by Roberto Matta Echaurren

the estate of Roberto Matta


When apples become morning

and I am alive

with the taste of dew

on my fingertips

and the heat of the sun

upon my lips

I know the meaning

of yesterday

and the promise of the dawn.


I know each blade of grass

by name

the distances

between the stars

and the scent

of rushing air

through yawning trees

but how quickly I forget

as the day goes on

as if it were a dream

and now must face

the crumbling fruit of life.



a line, (a blue one)


Day of Inertia

Day of Intertia by Yves Tanguy

painting by Yves Tanguy


The poplar and the birch

       refuse to bend to light

       or from the wind that never blows.


A dancer freezes in the middle

      of a pirouette like a pillar of salt

      for looking back.


Time, a river that will not flow

      forever the same

      forever as it was.


Nothing grows in this hostile land   

    where even the sound of birds

    rest on a single branch..


Electrons pause to contemplate

     their path and ask the reason why

     they never stop.


We are at one with the universe

    that ceases to expand

    or collapse upon itself or us.


All things change, they say,

    but I am always here

    like a sleeping mountain in the dark.



a line, (a blue one)


Blue Bones

Blue Bones by Sam Francis

painting by Sam Francis


Peel my skin


to show the redness

of my heart and blackness

of my soul

to reveal the blueness


in the marrow

of my bones.


How blue this life

written in the figures

of my veins

how blue the spirit

and the self—


It is written in my bones

an ancient alphabet

a lost vocabulary

of blues so blue

it may be the truth

I never knew.



a line, (a blue one)


Rising Sun

Rising Sun by Paul Klee

painting by Paul Klee


It is not unexpected

that the sun will dim,

crackle for a moment

then fade

like a light bulb

about to die.



Nor that we will die

tomorrow, perhaps,

but sooner than is our hope

as our legs grow weak

breathing rattles

and our eyes are glazed



and yet we look at the sun

as it rises in the east

and in the mirror

to see what we are

with endless days

and think how impossible it seems.




a line, (a blue one)


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