Thursday, June 10, 2010

Poem for Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe's My Last Door

My Last Door

for Georgia O’Keeffe
15 November 1887 ~ 6 March 1986

Death is not
some entrance made
from shades of bright desert sunlight
into a blackened square end
made in dark, silent

It is mystery,
& not so, ever carrying
a familiar scent, untasted, yet
common as childhood recollections
awaiting the Christmas

It is hope,
faith, and then some,
reality defined more firm than mountains,
built more certain than crimson tinted soil come
from ancient adobe desert

My last door:
a step through this square world
of tinted darkness into clarity, a real sunrise,
Christ enthroned beyond eternity, golden luminario,
a regal beacon foreshadowing all humble
journeys towards our true

-- Matushka Elizabeth Perdomo
15 January 2000 ~ Saturday AM ~ Driving in rural Georgia

Notes: “My Last Door” is the title of a work painted by artist Georgia O’Keeffe in 1954. We viewed this painting at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum on 23 December 1999 in Santa Fe, New Mexico during a Nativity Season visit to that region. The poem, however, was inspired by our youngest daughter, Rosa, who was then age 4. At the museum, she took me by the hand and walked me back to the room where the “My Last Door” painting was hung. Upon studying the work once again she asked me, “Mom, what’s the poem that goes with the one with the black square?” I had to say that I didn’t know. Then, several weeks later, after we’d returned home to Georgia, she surprised me one day saying, “Mom, read me that poem that goes with the black square.” Having nearly forgotten about the first query, it took me a while to figure out exactly what she meant. Then, finally, this poem about “the black square” came to me…


poetreader said...

The painting, "My Last Door" may be viewed at this URL. Highlight and copy the whole unweildy thing and paste into your websearch.

I must admit to being highly unimpressed by the painting, but if the collaboration of 4-year old daughter and devout mother found this wonderful poem in it, I have no complaint.


Alice C. Linsley said...

Thanks, Ed. I've pasted the picture into this entry so readers can see it.