Jul/Aug 2010 Poetry Special Feature

Two Word Poems

by Ray Templeton

Artwork by Costel Iarca

Bomber In The Corn

after Paul Nash

Already after
half a year, the land accepts
the contradiction:
wreck and crop. Indifferent
sun favors neither sundial

shadow of twisted
iron or the glittering
wind-wave through the corn.
Overhead, the next sowings
gather in the elements.

No doctor could heal
those wounds, but his way was to
honor all the lost.
Watercolor on paper,
pencil tracing the fine lines,

he crosshatched the space
between earth and sky, between
friend and enemy,
allowing the distinction
only in faint horizons.


Renaissance Drawings: The British Museum, 2010

When the history of the world was a chronicle
of miracles: nature outplayed,

logic suspended, undermined—
or exposed, even, in its dry convenience—

the bloodline of gods and kings and heroes
passed mouth to mouth,

and those stories where the sick were cured,
the dead learned to walk again,

in a verbal weave of birth and death,
pain and laughter. Then, brush and stylus

made fable tangible, traced on new surfaces,
doctored to resist encroachment

or invasion of the last day's thought.
Ink on vellum, lead white on paper

were stylised to a holy ideal:
cramped stable or garden unwrapped

to ruined columns, sundial,
arches of wrought-iron and carved stone.

Now watch this procession, the shining eyes.
Listen to the whispers, to the shuffling feet.

Foreshortening, vanishing point, the detail
in a fold of cloth, the blur of edge

between real and drawn—
this incantation of new litanies

is our present veneration.
Here we gaze on what we call miracle now.


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