Just Before 2

Time is a candle
lit at birth,
burning through your life.
extinguished by strength,
a harsh wind of a worry
or the slow burn of a lifetime.

Time is a nail
hammering Christ
on his crooked cross.
Believe he is the sun
offering you one-way eternity
under his glow.

Time is illusion,
marbled moonlight,
creating lunar reflection.
Follow her cyclical game
and always return
from whence you came.

Below the hour-glass hills,
the weary mother clutches
new life, tip-toeing by
the frightful clock that
ticks its pendulum spoon
full of poison; a flame
wavering too soon.

She looks to Christ’s
arms bathed in red,
the sacrifice of being
both alive and dead;
that rocky road ahead
just too narrow-minded.

Tonight, the moon’s too bright
and she throws up her hand
at this trinity of predictable
mortality and fatal infinity,
preferring her own eyesight
as guide through the night.

Marc Chagall’s “Christ with Clock”

I viewed this painting over the weekend in Luzerne, Switzerland, and I started penning this poem there in the museum. I’m not sure it’s ready yet, or that it will ever fully do the painting justice. I’m excited to hear your reactions to this contemplative verse.


9 Comments

  1. Hobbo

    I enjoyed the poem, and as usual, your imagery is fantastic. For me it reads like two separate, three stanza poems, both with the same subject matter. I thought the first three stanzas were particularly powerful. Were you aware that you transitioned time from male to female on the third stanza?😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Misky

    Each stanza pulled me through to the next one, and the final one just wrapped it all up beautifully. It holds its own without the image, but clever you to place the Chagall after the poem so that the reader forms their own image whilst reading it. Nicely done, K.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. johnlmalone

    I’m not sure if any poem does a painting justice but I’m reading your poem as a poem; I love its structure: the three serial-metaphor opening and then the exposition, beginning with that delightful phrase ‘the hour-glass hills’; and the mother’s trudging journey along that rocky road ahead just too narrow-minded’; great line and I love the affirmative ending! And yes it is a striking painting:) what would be an interesting exercise is to do the reverse to what you have done and ask
    how well the painting expresses the poem 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. K.Hartless

      Thank you, John. Just as I’m sure the painter finds his muse in music, nature and other arts, I enjoy finding my muse in other artistic works, but also I try to create something that has its own journey to make. It’s lovely to be able to share my art as well as my inspirations on this blog in the hopes my words go in to inspire others, a never-ending cycle of creation.

      Liked by 1 person

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