Marsden Hartley

Indian Point

When the surf licks with its tongues
these volcanic personal shapes, which we,
defining for ourselves as rocks, accept
them as such, at its feverish incoming
isn't it too, in its way, something like
the plain image of life?
Those restless entities disturbing solid
substances with a curious, irrelevant,
common fret –
and, like so many simple looking elements, when
they seem the most playful, it is then that
they are most dangerous.
The bright woman looking out to sea
through the crisp telescope of her advancing
there is no doubt but that she discovers the
same image as the child, who remarks the
radiant glint of his marbles on the top spray
of the wave he once played with,
or as the fringed lace on the dress of a
Titan's wife –
the inwash cooling at least the eye with
a something exceptional white or green or
blue, too pale almost to mention, if
frightening to the marrow,
for many have been sent to their death trusting
too much while regarding it affectionately,
the sea.


As the Buck Lay Dead

As the buck lay dead, tied to the fender
of a car
coming down from Matagomon way,
I saw dried blood on his tongue of
a thousand summer dreams and winter
cogitations –
the scratches on his hooves were signatures
of the many pungent sticks and branches.
The torn place in his chest was made
by a man
letting out visceral debris to save weight-giving
morsels to many a greedy fox or other wild
thing –
over the glaze of his half-shut eye
hung miseries of superlative moments
stuck dumb