Friday, February 10, 2017

Poetry Friday: Before a Painting

For everyone who has ever been overcome by ineffable beauty:

Before a Painting
James Weldon Johnson

I knew not who had wrought with skill so fine
What I beheld; nor by what laws of art
He had created life and love and heart
On canvas, from mere color, curve and line.
Silent I stood and made no move or sign;
Not with the crowd, but reverently apart;
Nor felt the power my rooted limbs to start,
But mutely gazed upon that face divine.

And over me the sense of beauty fell,
As music over a raptured listener to
The deep-voiced organ breathing out a hymn;
Or as on one who kneels, his beads to tell,
There falls the aureate glory filtered through
The windows in some old cathedral dim.

(This poem is in the public domain.)


James Weldon Johnson gets me, every time. Read more of his work here.

The round up is at The Logonauts today.


Irene Latham said...

O how many times I have LIVED this poem! And I am so so grateful. So much beauty in the world... thank you, Karen, for sharing!!

Karen Edmisten said...

Yes, Irene, me, too -- lived it many times, and I'm so grateful. Have a beautiful Friday!

Tabatha said...

Going to have to save this! His mastery of language is really inspiring (and accurate).

Kay said...

I have stood before art and experienced this poem (especially paintings by Georgia O'Keefe). I also feel similarly reading his crafted words.

Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

Ecstasy is reading that poem. Or experiencing that feeling. Makes my day feel rather flat.

Karen Edmisten said...

Tabatha, Kay, and Brenda --
Inspiring, accurate, crafted, ecstasy....
I agree on all fronts! :)

Ruth said...

This time last year I was visiting my daughter and going to the Art Institute of Chicago with her! This makes me want to go to an art museum again.

Mary Lee said...

My favorite close by museum is the Dayton Art Institute. I'm like Ruth -- this poem made me long for a museum visit!

Karen Edmisten said...

Ruth and Mary Lee -- yes, me too!