Photograph by Alfred Stieglitz, 1918 (Wikipedia)
If I paint Ghost Ranch enough, then God
will give it to me. Well, that was the pact.
I loved The Black Place; those brooding Badlands
and that sun with its tonal harmony.
I strove to get to the heart of all things,
for, as Thoreau once said, Nature will bear
the closest inspection. So, I observed:
repeatedly, intensely, like Cezanne,
with his ever-changing Mont St Victoire.
I would portray Death’s bleached beauty; a cloud;
Bear Lake; Canna leaves; winter Cottonwoods;
a blue Morning Glory; arroyas’ curves.
I would prick out river beds from airplanes –
some would say from a divine perspective.
My adobe wall shut distractions out.
Every day I would draw cool well water
from my own depths; would mix it with pigment,
till horizons narrowed through declining
vision. Cerro Pedernel retreated
and my skylight became a small white dot,
an oculus to stars’ proximity.