Untitled

Posted May 09, 2010, at 6:45 p.m.

West cheek to rose
of evening – feeling
its flesh burn with flush
of evening –
him beside himself
from far down below
in the hold of his own ship,
he, up in the rigging of his
former selves,
learning to straighten out
the tangle in the stiff
wind of evening.

Rose of evening.

You who are up there
in the rose of evening,
come down, leave me not
alone, among the rafters
and the joists of creaking
custom,
take me up with you into
the rose of evening,
plant my lips to the rose of
evening -

Man talking to himself
in the rosa mystica
of evening.


Marsden Hartley was born in Lewiston in 1877, and grew up there. Later he lived in New York City where he became one of America’s best-known modernist painters, and also wrote poems and essays. He spent most of his later years working in Maine, and died in Ellsworth in 1943. This poem is reprinted by permission of Yale University.

 

 

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