The blue plumes drift and
sway before my eyes–against my
grey skies they are quite blue,
perhaps merely gasps of ether
and disappointment fitfully
escaping from a covered heart–
caught, mirrored instantly, a
breath of these thin tourmalines,
a grey heart’s horizon of
silence, a shadowy cancan line–
This is my watercolor of the photo that accompanied O’Hara’s poem in the book of early Joan Mitchell paintings that I took out of the library. I looked for the poem on the internet without luck; perhaps that book is the only place it appeared.
O’Hara’s life intersected with many artists, including Joan Mitchell, and they often made art to accompany his words. And of course he was inspired by them and their work as well. One of his most famous poems, “Why I Am Not A Painter”, is ripe for reciprocal illustration, and I hope to get to it sometime in the future.