Poem Light and Flames Poem by Alexandre L. Amprimoz


LIGHT AND FLAMES I

El Greco in Venice
Drank the wine of Titian

And, at Tintorettos table,
Next to sweet Veronese,

Tasted the cardinal points
Of iconic pinecones.

The vast kernel
Of golden ratios

Awakened in rose windows.
But I, across clepsydras

And fields where each asparagus
Was an angel,

Could no longer
Close an eye

Nor guess the second
Coming of storms.

Later, when I was pacing
Along the labyrinth of insomnia,

Across centuries
Of prayers,

I caught his Cretan moments
Of sure madness

And mad certitude.
We dont have to believe,

We know the hand of God
Is at hand and time is near:

Faith you have no other definition.


LIGHT AND FLAMES II

” Whats with the oblong face?”
Asked El Greco.

And Veronese
Quoted the Inquisitor:

“buffoons, drunkards, dwarfs,
Germans, and similar vulgarities

In your painting of the Last Supper
For that monastery in Venice”.

In their mind the high drama
Began with the lowering

Of darker clouds.
Approximations of
Greenish blues,

And bluish grays
Rose in the air

With a scent of emerald
And indigo sonatas.

That was the sign:
They were on the edge

Of new colors.


LIGHT AND FLAMES III

He must have known of men
As Rilke was to know of angels;

Known what inquisitors
Heard in the dark rumbling

Of mystic souls, those long
Faced lovers of God.

He must have considered
Across some suicidal autumn

Juan de la Cruz in dim
Toledo dungeons;

And in Valladolid
He must have felt the agony

Of gloomy penitentiaries
Where Luis de León

Burned like a humble candle
Consumed by a fever

Asymptotic to the Eternal.

Later, too proud
To dance with death

Or even prolong
The study of minor miseries,

El Greco nailed spirits
On canvas.

LIGHT AND FLAMES IV

After his quest,
After the Golden Age,

He was Toledo
And he was Spain,

This man from Crete.
He saw dead angels

And called himself
The Greek.

And like an impatient ghost
He saw the dead

As everlasting,
The stark spirit

Of his old age,
His best art.

Finally understanding
Repetition as his road

To that infinite we call aleph,
He painted St. Francis in Ecstasy

Eighty times eleven.

LIGHT AND FLAMES V

Always gathering light,
Like Theresa of Jesus

He built an Interior Castle.
Centuries before him

Pliny the Elder,
Alluded to a painting:

A young boy
Blowing at an ember.

The light reflects from the flames
And conquers the boy’s face,

Then the room. The monkey
Like me was puzzled.

Alexandre Amprimoz is a poet, critic, translator, writer and programmer. He teaches Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario Canada. Books include: A Season For Birds: Selected poems by Pierre Morency. Translation.Toronto: Exile Press, 1990; Venice At Her Mirror: Essay by Robert Marteau. Translation. Toronto: Exile Press, 1990 ; Nostalgies de l’ange. Ottawa: Editions du Vermillon, 1993. He has recently published poems in: Alsop Review, Antigonish Review, Octavo, The Fiddlehead, Lichen,


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