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Ekphrastic

By Katharyn Machan

What do you see?
A painting of a woman.
She is still alive.
 
What colors do you find most engaging?
Green, green, so green
it really is a reverent blue
a creature of the wilderness
might dream in their first prayer.
 
Is the artwork telling a story?
A story
of how her hands are made of light.
A story
of how her emerald ring
becomes a sun through curved stained glass.
A story
of why her eyes are closed.
 
What draws you into the artwork?
Her loose hair swings into rainbows.
Her full lips are born from song.
I might have been a violinist—
no. (No, that’s all wrong!)
 
What texture do you notice?
Oil on canvas: of course,
palette’s swirl beneath sure brush
the man ten years younger than her
chose in reverent prayer.
Flowing. Sacred. Bold.
                                                                                   
What emotions does the artwork evoke?
Stunning calm.
Love of yellow for her joy.
Gratitude for pink and purple
daring to collide
(I could have been a …)
 
Close your eyes for a moment,
then open them again. What
do you notice now?

Curve of shoulder.
Curves of hips.
Startling beads of clay and turquoise
surely swaying as she plays.
 
Imagine you have the chance to meet.
What would you ask her?

What do you see?
What colors fill your music?
Does your violin tell a story?
Why did you become—
no. (I dare not ask.)
 
What do you want others
to know about this work of art?

It makes the world a violin.
It shows us how a woman gives.
Green, blue-green, wild prayer rising
in the music her hands shape
as she stands strong in window’s brightness
saying yes to all who hear,
telling us (me!) we must keep daring
to reach for what deep love creates.
 
                           with thanks 
to Jona Kottler

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