Poem: The Abstract Painting

Life Death Afterlife
Dave Hood

In the solace of his studio, after unexpected sad news,
the abstract expressionist painter,
listens to Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,”
A sorrowful sounding piece of music, evoking a feeling
of melancholy within his psyche.

Compelling him, to repeatedly dip his creative brush
into palette of two paints, splatter white then black,
as if Jackson Pollock, on to a larger-than-life canvas,
stretched out on a concrete floor, like a still corpse.

Later, an art critic, a young student of modern art,
Makes his way to the studio, gazes at this completed work
of abstraction, ponders its representation.

Eventually makes an inquisitive inquiry:
“What does it symbolize?”

The artist scratches his bald head,
Takes a puff of his cigarette, ponders
The question for a few moments,
Gazes at the artwork, then responds
as if a philosopher of religion:

“There is no title—only the expression
of emotion. “

“You see, all of humanity lives in the light
for a time, where there’s hope.”

“Then descends into darkness—sometimes in life.
Other times in death—
Perhaps for everlasting eternity.”

“I only know that we are born, we live,
we hope, we suffer, and we die.”

“Our last moment in this world—unknown.
Until we take our last breath.

“And so, to answer your question,
white on canvas symbolizes light of life,
the eternal human spirit,

Black represents darkness of despair in life,
the unknown Journey into darkness
from life into death, then afterlife.”


About Dave Hood

Lover of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction. Professional photographer and writer. Without the arts, life would be rather mundane, like a walk down the same old path on a dull day.
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