Goethe’s Colour Wheel via Wikimedia Commons

 

Razzle-Dazzle Ghazal (Goethe on Steroids)

If we pass from a dark place to one illumined
by the sun we are dazzled.

Prisoners long confined in darkness acquire
so great a susceptibility of the retina.

Goethe looked into an open coal shed. The large
red image floated. With snow a total dazzling.

He called on the artist: solve the mystery of imitation
select the example of an open book to present a greater diversity.

The greatest brightness short of dazzling acts
near the greatest darkness. Dazzle. Dazzled. Dazzling.

 

After Theory of Colours by Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1810), translated from the German by Charles Lock Eastlake

 

Ghosts of Mercy

Their stage is the river of cold
collision. Steam rises off ice floes.
Nights, armed and loaded
with my flashlight, I stand
on a shoreline of glistening rocks.
My beacon beams as I pan the waters
to let them know I’m here, careful to disguise
distress, my shivering. The sliver of moon
floats detached. I too hide my fears.
A goading as my breath clouds the frigid air
my tears crystallize until the ghosts of mercy
emerge in pairs. The hustlers flit across the floes
to chase transgression, tussle demons in a private show.

 

 

After Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Red on Red), 1969
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Peace Pavilion