Friday, April 18, 2014

Seagram Building (Mies van der Rohe), Sonnet #173

What meant more to a strict thinker like Mies,
The building looked at or the looked out of?
The Seagram is what is, less what one sees,
A thing you might move through, but never love.
Was a man ever more ruled by the slide rule,
The right angle, and entrapped empty space?
Less may be more, but it's extremely cool,
Humorless, with a stern, unblinking face.
He's often pictured with a fat cigar,
A roundness, perhaps a form of penance
For abjuring the curvilinear,
Though for genius there is no repentance.
The Seagram is simple on a grand scale.
Sterile, and like dry ice, it can't go stale.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Yei Be Chei Dancers (Julia Guerin), Sonnet #172

From six to six the Yei Be Chei dancers,
Blessing herbs, heads in white and turquoise masks,
Shout and chant and stomp to summon answers
To ageless questions the Navaho asks.
Comic relief, the Coyote capers,
Makes faces, mocks the gullible gapers.
A Yei Be Chei also, he's serious
About making laughter delirious.
Only through disorientation
Will blessings descend upon the nation.
They are true spirits while the dancing lasts,
And as night becomes morning the sun casts
Shadows on faces in the audience --
At that moment the universe makes sense.

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