Two Poems By Olga Dugan

Moonbow: A Portrait by The Artist
			‘Ars longa, vita brevis’ (from Hippocrates)

a painter dips and curves 
her brush across the canvas 
confident she can reach the sea
determined strokes of yellow ochre
maneuverings of mixed blues
greens some Payne’s grey 
give shape to interpretation
of giving form to what things 
she thinks she sees

a writer pens homage to the same
in waves and crests of svelte 
black ink on ivory kraft 
following the ocean’s push
and pull that rolls dusk 
ashore in foamy rumbles 
along bights of rocky coastline 
before ebbing back to an age 
old lull and sway

but waning near full
and high on the wind
the moon transcends 
painter writer both
who must ever learn 
an art it has mastered
since the birth of light

it gathers heaven’s fire 
to pop night skies 
in bands of moonbow 
jeweling the ocean’s surface 
then sparkling a ribbon of beach 
right up to the boardwalk 
where both human rivals sit 
bathed in its white dove halo—
canvas, pages, efforts all
Beginnings: An Artist to the Eighth Wonder of the World
(for Natasha and Josie W)	

No matter the hustlers,
industrialists, power planters,
all for centuries, twilling your hemline
of emerald, peridot, indigo, cloud
into fleeces from tourists,
bill payers—trading rainbows
for promised attractions to come,
siphoning away by night
your charms groping hands
divert to turbines spinning electric
out of mechanical energy,
then, return to peddling feet,
who push and sell your daywear;
no matter how nature, at least once,
jammed and dammed your throat
with ice, restricting your issue
from morning to dusk;
your ancient cycle runs
intact and unending
as art flows without ceasing.

Acquainted as I am
with slacking limbs, limits—
the signs of all things finite,
the sometimes squelch of heart
for art’s endless beginnings,
I find solace in knowing
we two are kin;
you, a great river, and I
born again and again,
wrapped in infinity.

Twelve thousand years of ice
thawed to five great lakes
continue their libations to you,
who compel: thrive again
on songs gust and wind winnow
through oak and pine in the yard;
on the air’s goodness to lift
wherever light can be gathered;
make, shape, out of time, space,
some newness—an act
akin to a river’s monumental flow, 
brooking no end…
Niagara,
one who dares create, salutes
your course above eroded rock,
felled stone, upstream to fall
seven hundred fifty-seven
thousand five hundred
gallons per second
down bridal veils and horseshoes
sloping New York, Ontario,
Michigan, Wisconsin,
Illinois, and over
your rainbow only to drain back
into the masterpiece
you’ve created since the mastodon,
unchanged by deterrence,
undeterred by change.

Olga Dugan is a Cave Canem poet. Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, her award-winning poems are forthcoming or appear in Channel (Ireland), Relief: A Journal of Art and Faith, E-Verse Radio, The Windhover, The Sunlight Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Southern Quarterly, Kweli, Ekphrastic Review, Tipton Poetry, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Peacock Journal, Origins, Poems from Pandemia – An Anthology, Cave Canem Anthology: XIII, and Red Moon Anthology of Modern English Haiku. Articles on poetry and cultural memory appear in The Journal of African American History, The North Star, and in Emory University’s “Meet the Fellows.”

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