A Home in Dark Grass
Robert Bly, 1926-2021, American
In the deep fall, the body awakes,
And we find lions on the seashore—
Nothing to fear.
The wind rises, the water is born,
Spreading white tomb-clothes on a rocky shore,
Drawing us up
From the bed of the land.
8 am Cadiz, oil on linen, 2017, and details above and below. Lynette Yiadom Boakye, British born 1977. Baltimore Museum of Art
The artist’s statement about this work is that this is not a portrait. It is not about being black. It is about being a human being in this dark grass. But, she says, it felt perfectly natural to her to place a black man here. As if an artist has to explain herself.
We did not come to remain whole.
We came to lose our leaves like the trees,
The trees that are broken
And start again, drawing up on great roots;
Like mad poets captured by the Moors,
Men who live out
A second life.
Nightlife, 2000, tempera on panel. George A. Weymouth, 1936-2016. Family collection on loan to the Brandywine River Museum in 2018
That we should learn of poverty and rags,
That we should taste the weed of Dillinger,*
And swim in the sea,
Not always walking on dry land,
And, dancing, find in the trees a saviour,
Taken by the Woman who posts Poems on her front Door only to be asked to increase the Frequency of the Postings. Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, 2018
A home in the dark grass,
And nourishment in death.
* Marijuana? From Daz Dillinger’s album Marijuana in My Brain.