The beating heart

The beating heart

Certain terms
make me smile
action painting
for example

Every painting
ever done
is the result
of a series of actions

thought
word and deed
—and painting
is a language

Robert Motherwell
a highly literate artist
wrote
that he preferred
to see
rather than read

But what could he
possibly see
without reading
the language
in which
it was written ?

Art
is feeling
the integrity of feeling
: it comes through
in the radiance
of light

John Lyons


Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) was one of the youngest of the New York School, which also included Philip Guston, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. This poem draws on a reading of The Collected Writings of Robert Motherwell, edited by Stephanie Terenzio.

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