Ananta Madhavan


Abstract Art, Rothko at an Expo


Assaulted by some exquisite disproportion
In colour-traps which lie in wait for me,
The membranes of my faculties go numb.

Slabs of spaced pigment, loud or sombre,
Bandaged horizontal bars or bands:
This red may be an ur-electric fire.

There, the essence of a stark old plain,
Distilled in greying black and greying white -
These give no purchase to the answering eye.

Greedily the canvases lap up the light,
Yielding nothing; and yet, as hushed, I stalk
These hostile presences, chromatic acres,

Accepting all and leaving all behind,
I think I glimpse a meaning in the hoax:
The elemental disproportion is my own.

Submitted: Monday, April 28, 2014
Edited: Monday, April 28, 2014

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Written on a visit to the Hayward Gallery, London in 1972.

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