Tag Archives: poem about an artist

Portrait of the Artist

My husband was an artist and so it seemed fitting to write a profile/portrait of him that described him primarily in terms of color.

Portrait of the Artist

The artist in you
understood color so well.
And yet, even as you layered on
red and green,
so much of you was blue.

Your white hair,
loosened from the pony tail

and streaming down your back
in your wild man look,
prompted strangers to ask
if you were a shaman,
or declare you to be one.

But there was
that black in you
that altered it,
that shade created
by the blend
of white and black
you knew so well.

The red that flamed out from your work,
subtly put there even in places
where it had no logical purpose for being,

that red tried to make things right.

Yet all of us
who knew you well

knew the blue.
It was the background color
of all of your days.

It was the blanket
in which we wrapped
at night,

trying to be close,
but so often

by it.

For fifteen years, I tried
to paint you yellow.
There were splashes of it, surely,

throughout our lives together.
You on the stage, reading your heart,
me in the audience, recognizing
all the colors caught within you.

Finding the pictures you had taken of me
studying your work at the art show,

those pictures you had snapped surreptitiously
even before we  met,

I discovered, after your passing,
that you had recognized
me even then, when I thought
I was the only one
angling for a meeting—
sure of my need to know
those secret parts of you

that I will never know
now that you have given yourself
to whatever color your ever-after
has delivered you to.

A new life later,
I am suffused
by my own canvas
of memories of you—
every other pigment
splashed against
a vivid background
of yellow.


The dVerse Poetics prompt is to create a profile or self-profile in verse. Go HERE to read additional poems written to this prompt by others.

What Consumed You: NaPoWriMo 2016, April 16

What Consumed You

Hot wax for your wild boar sculpture
that you melted in my favorite sauté pan.
The metallic smell of your sweat.
Fine redwood shavings
caught in the curly hairs of your muscled arms.

“What is your favorite part of his body?”
a friend once asked––
a strange question.
It was your forearms.
You were a beautiful man.

“Nice legs,” a woman leaving a restaurant in St. Paul
once remarked to you, as we were entering.
“Bernice,” her husband expostulated.
“Well, they are,” she answered.
They were a bicyclist’s legs,
my second favorite part.

When they came to take you,
“What a waste––” I thought,
“that body consigned to flame––”
but appropriate to an artist
who had fired glass and clay and bronze
to join in the kiln all the beauty he had created from it.

When potter friends
asked for a cup of your ashes
for the glaze for your funereal urn,
that is how,
finally, you became
the art you lived for.

 IMG_5376The idea was to make ten of these seed-shaped urns to divide my husband Bob’s ashes into–one for each of Bob’s eight kids, his sister and me. A larger pea pod shaped tray was to enclose them all, but it blew into a hundred pieces in the kiln of our friends Dan and Laurie, who were making it.  I guess it was an appropriate metaphor, for Bob was the one who brought us all together and he was now gone.  Somehow, I wound up with eleven urns, so after Bob’s kids and sister came to Mexico to collect their ashes to distribute wherever they wished and we deposited the ashes designated to me in Lake Chapala, I wound up with one empty urn and one filled partially with the remains of Bob’s ashes.  I always thought the empty one was for me, but when I knocked over the one with Bob’s ashes in it a few years ago, we gathered him up so he now resides in my urn and I am unattached in the after life, at least for now.  The little urn in the foreground is all that is physically left of Bob.  In the background is a bronze nude that is one of hundreds of sculptures, art lamps and vases that he seeded the world with before he left it. R.I.P. Bob. Much of you remains in this world.

This is my poem for today’s prompt.  To see it and/or participate, go here: http://www.napowrimo.net/day-sixteen-3/