Four Poems by Neil Ellman

​Imbalance of Time

(after the painting by Richard Pousette-Dart)

On the other side of what we know
an hour is no more an hour
than east is truly east
or light has the feel of snow.
To travel form here to there
is a matter of perspective, faith,
not time, a journey imagined,
neither short nor long,
the contents of the sea
or of a measuring cup.
The present feeds the past
like a mothering lion
feeds her young
and the past is nothing more
than the future in a shroud.
There is neither proportion
nor equivalence
nor harmony
when time, uncertain,
out of balance.

Moon Animal

(after the painting by William Baziotes)

Some will see in the craters of the moon
the face of a disapproving hawk
with the scowl of a mother on its nest
threatened by the dark
For some, its maria, vast and deep,
contain a multitude of fish
and a huge gray whale
coming to the surface for a gasp of air.
On its treeless mountains
there are bighorn sheep and grizzly bears
elk, moose and wolverines
struggling for survival in a hostile land.
On the darker side where the air is thinner
than the falling rain.

The Blue Phantom

(after the painting by Wols)

Whatever turned the phantom blue
like a chameleon
from pacific gray to malevolent blue
the air we breathe, the land and sea
to the color of a violent ghost
it knew what blue must mean
in the spectrum of the eyes and mind
like a specter clothed in blue,
a shroud in blue
the shadow of the moon
upon a peaceful earth
it knew, it knew
that blue would be the palette
of our world.

Secret Life of Plants

(painting, Rik Lina)

Is it a secret
that we have a hidden life
of limbs entwined
on ivy-colored walls,
of wanton sex
in the pitch of night
as if no one sees
our indiscretions
of leaf and life?—
surely, it is no secret
to suspicious minds
that we speak to each other
with lascivious words
in a language unheard
and unhearable
alone in the darkness
we speak our private thoughts
but never reveal them
to you
who would spread them
throughout the world.

Neil Ellman, a poet from New Jersey, has published widely throughout the world.  He has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and twice for Best of the Net.