Posted tagged ‘When the world blows down not just the house’

Some things I Admire about Anselm Keifer

April 9, 2015


“When, at the end of the 1960s,I became interested in the Nazi era, it was a taboo subject in Germany. No one spoke about it anymore, no more in my house than anywhere else.”  Anselm Kiefer

Some things I Admire about Anselm Keifer

Words were meant to carry meaning
like a cart or car,
a sigh or song,
but make crude vehicles
when meaning’s gone
or when it’s grown so vast we gasp, crushed as grass,
boot/tank/shrapnel-tramped, seeded
with mortar or mine–

Paint too
has limitations;
even with its leads, its cadmiums,
burnt umber–
how does line define
meaning’s capsize?
catch the copse where the cart collapsed?
the tracks where the trains did not derail?
the field where the sun was buried?

What pallet of straw, stick, gloam can make us see
the world blown down?

Something very big, with a difficult surface,
something we have to get a distance from
to really see,
something we try to get close to
to really see,
something we are seen by–what?
all that we don’t do in the world
all that we have done–
the huge don’t/done, mud


A poem of sorts.  9th for this April, 2015 National Poetry Month.  Inspired by a Real Toads Prompt by Ella of Ella’s Edge, to write about the better depictor–as it were–visual art or language–  The artist that came to mind for me is Anselm Kiefer, a great great (I think) German artist who makes extremely large paintings using a variety of materials including, and other than, paint.  He was born in 1945.

I wasn’t actually particularly thinking of the painting above in doing the poem, but this is one I’ve seen in person at an exhibition at Mass Moca (from which I’ve taken this image, without intending any copyright infringement.)  Images of Kiefer’s work can be found here.  Quotes here.

Note that when I first posted this, I did not put in a quote as asked by the prompt. (I forgot about it and only added this morning-Sorry, Ella!)   Kiefer has many great quotes about art and history, and I only chose this because it gives a context to the work .