For Shubhra Chand

 

We have only had a glimpse of your work

it lies here in the sun of the bay

still enclosed in linen

I saw black and white red and gold

yesterday at your brother’s house

though we have a small local collection

only one, a Kollwitz restrike

out of the country

however, we long for the rest of the world

we have a little room of Asian objects

flags, a tiger of Mongolia, several Buddhas

but yours are glorious

yours we will place downstairs

opposite the main entrance

so everybody who enters

will be drawn to your presence first

knowing there is a world outside Maine

which is something we sometimes doubted ourselves

since the local museum only carries the boats and shore

what I see lifting my head from the typewriter

gazing at boats, gazing at snow, gazing at the silver sea

I am afraid we do not have the money

to pay for their worth

but I hope you may be pleased with the poems of my longing

for the world at peace

so this exchange could cross all borders

and your paintings would shine on many walls

here in America, China, Haiti, Brazil

we could have that

if all the guns were melted down for sculpture

if all the soldiers’ tents converted to fine canvas

for the application of pigments

that you could teach the young artists

of our struggling earth

something has to stop war

poetry seems insufficient

perhaps art can do the job

bringing forth tears at all our losses

showing that the colors, the design of life

are so important that all should see

even the blind, touching your brushes, your face

would know the goodness there

the goodness of creation, the goodness of a creator

it is so wonderful to anticipate your work

in our ship-carpenter’s house

only made in 1857, while your city is ancient

but we can find the common thread of art

to bind us together

and let us show the small world of Rockland

such beauty

and hopefully make our friends long as well

thank you for your gifts