By Gail Mazur
A draughtsman’s draughtsman, Hokusai at 70
thought he’d began to know the structures
of birds and beasts, bugs and fish, of the way
plants develop, was hoping that by way of ninety he’d have
penetrated to their crucial nature.
And extra, through a hundred, I could have reached the stage
where each dot, each mark I make will be
alive. you usually enjoyed that unravel, you’d repeat
joyfully—Hokusai’s utterance of faith
in work’s probabilities, its present, that,
at a hundred thirty, he’d maybe have realized to draw.
Gail Mazur’s poems in Forbidden City build an interesting meditative constitution upon the weather of mortality and paintings, eloquently considering the connection of paintings and life—and the dynamic chances of every one together. on the collection’s middle is the poet’s lengthy marriage to the artist Michael Mazur (1935–2009). a desirable variety of tone infuses the book—grieving, yet clear-eyed instead of lugubrious, occasionally whimsical, even comical, and sometimes exuberant. The word of delight, as in an previous culture enriched via transience, runs throughout the paintings, even within the ultimate poem, “Grief,” the place “our starving carry at the global” is a strong critical element.
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Forbidden City (Phoenix Poets) by Gail Mazur