Wednesday 20 April 2016

5 Poems by Neil Ellman

Look at the Heart of the World 
(Roberto Matta Echaurren, etching and aquatint) 

It is there
not at the center
but just below the surface
of the world
the heart that beats
to the rhythm
of an ancient drum
first heard
then seen
as pulsing seas
and the motion of wind
through trees 

Watch how it creates
a world
from the insistence
of its blood
and how it persists
in rippling dunes
and the urge
of throbbing flesh. 

Look at the heart
of the world
and count its days. 

EnergÍa atomica 
(Joaquín Torres-García, painting) 

The fishes of the sea
the birds that soar
beyond the clouds
the stars themselves
in the dimness of the night
the houses inhabited
by shadow-ghosts
of who we were
where we once lived
everything we touch
and sometimes see
get their energy
from the infinitesimal
we barely know
and cannot see—
such enormity from
the smallest of things
that dance on the waves
of a never-ending sea. 

Fish Magic 
(Paul Klee, painting) 

Beneath the waves
to light
tiny fish perform
their magic show;
their sleight of hand
defies the hook
and net;
their illusions
make them invisible
to the fisherman’s
keen eye;
they survive
by trickery
and artifice. 

(Helen Frankenthaler, painting) 

From entrance to exit
from this to another
a portal between
this world and others
as tangible as a reflection
in the back of the eye
or prophesies delivered in flame
as if they were real
a door swings on hinges
of opposites
opening, closing
going somewhere
then returning
to where it began. 

The Birth of the World 
(Joan Miró, painting) 

Out of the disorder of tea leaves
in a porcelain cup
an alphabet of things to come
a word, a world, then many,
repeated as infinite phrases
in the unremitting babble of stars
a world divined
from dregs of tea
as if there were a meaning 


Neil Ellman, a poet from New Jersey, has published more than 1,200 poems 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, Robert Matta Echaurren. 

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