Two Poems by Milton Resnick

An Accident

An accident on the mountain
showing the superiority of chance
I fell and thought I saw horses in the sky
the horses shiver
they don’t understand if you don’t whip
what’s more false than the horse of dream
the race, the grass, the sun
I should doubt for a painter nature is a paradox
but you don’t need me to mix colors
what one likes does not trot out of painting
dreams still function
they could be expressing the mystic
the indistinct line of nature wanted for great art
I know this anxiety
allowable in the forced loneliness of the studio
and for the god-forsaken Jew hiding as someone else
but for the god-like that explode in song and dance
the drum won’t do
and idealistic protest will not win the field
for the years deliver us of pity
yesterday for instance I stopped reading about
the earthquake in Mexico
I thought the news was getting beyond nightmare
beyond everchanging shadows lying in wait for dawn
the rosy-fingered beyond the likely
as for me I hardly recognize the day
It’s so early something in the air threatens
insects the horrors eat
they need the blood you need
they take from us that we have none
cast in hell as usual
if all that talk of sin comes to pass
the parades I shall see
new light on what I know and feel
all in a single drop is nothing
in the presence of the mountain
a mad thought —
I don’t look a thing grinning in pain


Black Hollows On the Horizon

Black hollows on the horizon
a perspective of despair too insistent for my thoughts
I come from work I am not myself
crazy from the experience of years
I dream I am brushing the secrets of life on canvas
but why does paint dry to indescribable shadows
is it moonshine or is it more serious
a picture of the world for the first time out of inspiration
my genius hand does not deliver the comprehensive
I could almost understand Plato
how philosophy evaporates the concrete
how instinct yields the unreal
will shadows save the day

'There's a Measure Called Recognition,' an audio clip, is a fragment from a lecture Milton Resnick gave at the Englewood Library, Englewood New Jersey on 10/13/78.


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Saturn, 1976, 97 x 117

Earth, 1976,102 x 109