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Lyn Lifshin: Paintings and Poems
Part of the PoetryCircle Showcase series.
  • Early Sunday Morning


    —Edward Hopper—

    The thing about Sunday is
    the light moving across
    a two story red brick
    building, shops on the
    first floors, four dark
    doorways and a barber
    pole. The shops are closed.
    They’ll stay closed all
    day. 1930. Sunday floating
    in space, beating out
    Saturday for quiet. It’s
    an old neighborhood that
    has known better days. You
    never ask what day it is.
    Sunday feels like Sunday.
    A Sunday kind of love,
    never on Sunday. When Emily
    Dickinson wrote “there’s
    a certain slant of light
    that oppresses,” it must
    have been Sunday, a day like
    wide water without a sound

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    Georgia O’Keefe's From the Faraway Nearby


    She painted her first skull

    from a barrel of bones

    the cow’s head
    against the blue

    “I like the shapes
    they have no
    thing to do with death”

    mountains thru the
    holes in a bone

    bones and moons
    bones and flowers
    a reddish bone with a yellow sky

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    Georgia O’Keefe’s Ram’s Head with Hollyhocks


    She could see shapes

    it’s as if her mind
    created spaces

    some repeat themselves

    sand pink hills
    a mountain
    sun bleached skull
    of a ram

    beautiful as black iris
    she wanted the bones
    to make you feel
    what she  was
    feeling

    your eyes pulled to its center

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    Georgia O’Keefe’s Hills and Mesa


    she loved Texas
    light coming on the plains

    huge dust storms

    sometimes she’d come in and couldn’t
    tell it was herself
    except for her shape

    she’d be the color of the road

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    Moonlight Night: Winter


    Maxfield Parrish—

    December, the
    water moves behind
    barns, darkly under
    snow dunes in
    ten thousand hills
    pulling moon light
    around the
    pine trees, a
    sound to sleep
    and love by
    like bells
    running thru the
    children’s sleep
    when they dream
    of blue sleighs

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    No. 27 (Light Band)


    —Mark Rothko—

    slick as eggplant
    of sapphire,
    a blue beard melting
    over skin without
    any color until
    the blues
    takes it.
    Royal blue,
    bluer than Monday,
    darker than antique
    typewriter keys
    shatter on with
    one touch years
    after the woman
    who first touched
    them plunged into
    Otter Creek,
    the baby, a pearl
    in her, unraveling
    beneath the suede
    with matching boots.
    Its blue on your
    fingers stains
    the phone you’d
    use ordering out
    for Chinese food,
    calling 911
    after gulping
    Valium in a
    dream where the
    subway out of
    darkness lurches
    off the track

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    The Holocaust


    —George Segal—

    like red trillium
    poking up
    thru thick
    leaves dark
    menstrual blood
    polling at the
    bottom when
    they opened the
    gas chambers:
    the bodies frozen,
    merging, leaning
    toward an imaged
    light behind
    the wire, a family
    fused in the claws
    of each other,
    a daughter
    climbing her
    mother’s side,
    up past her
    shoulders, as
    she did as
    a baby as if
    the little air left
    would help her
    hold on
  • Lyn Lifshin has over a hundred books of poetry to her credit. Her latest is Femme Eterna. These poems are part of a larger collection that Lyn submitted to PoetryCircle some time ago.

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  1. Cheryl.Leverette
    "she wanted the bones
    to make you feel
    what she  was
    feeling"

    this is what I love.
  2. Cheryl.Leverette
    Lyn's writing is always a comfort. :)
  3. David Belcher
    "Early Sunday night" to "Moonlit night: winter" made an impression on me, each one contains a moment when the reader is lifted past the words on the page, for example,
    "she'd be the colour of the road" in the poem, "...Hills and mesa"
    Jay Dougherty likes this.
  4. Jay Dougherty
    Good to see you logged in, Lyn.
  5. Lyn Lifshin
    I'm overwhelmed and so grateful for all these amazingly nice comments. They mean so much
  6. Cheryl.Leverette
    I love this, especially: she wanted the bones/ to make you feel/ what she  was/ feeling/
    your eyes pulled to its center.  Lynn writes that way too.
    Lyn Lifshin likes this.
  7. TrishSaunders
    I've always admired her poems; this just leaves me speechless, like Cheryl.
    Any comment would seem trite.
    NICE job, Jay d.
  8. Lavonne Westbrooks
    Lifshin is a magnificent poet.
    Lyn Lifshin and TrishSaunders like this.
  9. Cheryl.Leverette
    My gosh.  Speechless.
    Lyn Lifshin and TrishSaunders like this.