Poem of the Week

in conversation

Robert Fernandez

Goethe
excited
about his

newly
acquired
drawings
by famous

masters
(and to brag
that they
were cheap!)

said that
such drawings
are invaluable
not only because

they give
the artist’s
mental idea
in all its 

purity
but also
because
they put

us into
his mood
at the moment
of creation

as if a portal
were opened
between now
and then by

the clarity
and serene
resolution of
the artist’s mind

seizing on
the moment
seizing on
something

destined
to be seen
and picked
up whereas

a poem
makes a far
vaguer impression
exciting different

feelings according
to the personality
and capacities
of each hearer

as if language
were more
polysemous
than drawing

and rather
than directly
revealing
the idea

splintered
on its way
into a multi-
verse

which I read
as an ars
poetica
meaning

a saying
of what
he would
like to do

by saying
what he
thinks he
cannot

by investing
in drawings
by masters
to master

that which
masters him
meaning
the poem

gliding
in sensuous
ripples until
language

dissolves
and all
that’s left
is a pulse

Robert Fernandez is the author of Scarecrow, among other books, and is the co-translator of Azure. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Originally published:
February 23, 2022

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