Touch Me


Touch Me 


from Passing Through: The Later Poems, New and Selected, 1995

Stanley Kunitz, 1905-2006, American poet






A palladium print of the hands of Georgia O’Keefe, 1919, created by Alfred Steiglitz, 1864-1946.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC




Summer is late, my heart.



Double Portrait (Self-Portrait of the Artist with his Wife), 1911, oil on canvas.  Max Pechstein, 1887-1955, German.  Baltimore Museum of Art


Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two






The Lovers (After the Rain), 1925, oil on canvas.  Francis Picabia, 1879-1953.  Musee d’Art Moderne de la ville de Paris on loan to MOMA, 2016-17




scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that’s late,
it is my song that’s flown.






Sunday, 1926, and detail, oil on canvas.  Edward Hopper, 1882-1967, American.  The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

Edward Hopper is a master of the depiction of states of anxiety, isolation and desolation which he saw pervading the lives of people in his time.




Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;






Coneflowers and phlox in a garden staked and planted so many years, West Shokan, NY




and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?








Lovers, drybrush watercolour on paper, 1981.    Andrew Wyeth, 1917-2009, American.

  Collection of Andrew and Betsy Wyeth on display in the summer of 2017 at the Brandywine Museum, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.

The model is Helga Testorf.  She came to nurse a close Wyeth neighbor and frequent subject  – with his wife, farmhouse, animals and almost all that was his – of his art, Karl Kuerner.   Beginning in 1970, Wyeth completed 240 drawings and paintings of Helga Testorf.  He told no-one about this.  He did not tell his wife, Betsy.

It was Betsy who gave this painting the name Lovers when she finally came to know of them.  She said the painted shadows implied the presence of a man.  She also said that the Helga paintings seemed to her to be ‘like a ballet: erotic, beautiful but untouchable’. 


Desire, desire, desire.






 Could This Be Love, 1992, acrylic and collage on canvas.  Kerry James Marshall, American, born 1955.  In a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum in 2016.



The longing for the dance






Two portions of a panel of a suite of 10 panels from America Today, 1930-’31, egg tempera with oil glazing over Permalba on a gesso ground on linen mounted to wood panels with a honeycomb interior.  Thomas Hart Benton, American, 1889-1975, American.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.  Originally made for the board room and a class room of the New School for Social Research, NY.



stirs in the buried life.






Harlem Dancers, 1937, Tennessee marble.  Margaret Brassler Kane, 1909-2006, American.  Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC


One season only,







The Kiss, 1925-26, oil and enamel paint on canvas.  Francis Picabia, French, 1879-1953. On loan to MOMA, NY 2016-2017      





and it’s done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.






Osborn Cabin Through Post and Beam and detail, 2013, oil on gator board.  David Brewster, American born 1960.  Woodmere Museum, Philadelphia




Darling, do you remember





 Hotel, and detail, 2008.  Alex Kanevsky, American born Russia 1963.  In an exhibition at the Woodmere Museum, Philadelphia in 2016


the man you married? 






Fortune Teller and Harlequin, gouache on board, date unknown.  Roger Anliker, 1924-2013, American.  Woodmere Museum, Philadelphia 



                                                                                            Touch me,






Loving Embrace, and detail, 1985, graphite on paper.  Ellen Powell Tiberino, 1938-1992, American.  The artist was fatally ill when she drew this self-portrait with her husband





remind me who I am.






 The Kiss, limestone, 1916.  Constantin Brancusi, 1876-1957,  Romanian.  Philadelphia Art Museum