The grains propose the spectrum of the landscape (golden,
ochre, glassy, iron red, black of basalt), sorted, sifted.
In his furrowed palms the artist holds the sunlight’s
glint, admires coolness poured from earthen jars. With
a willow stick, he sketches on the ground until idea takes

shape. A hawk on steady currents circles, dips, and dives;
at play, a boy picks up a pinecone, turns it in his hand,
and casts it lightly, carrying his thought, among the trees.
The underlayer of the painting shaped, compressed,
the man then drips the crystal granules in geometries

of mind’s design, for mind’s enchantment and the eye’s,
yet born in nature: mountains, rivers, mesas, birds,
the sun and stars, changed into lines and circles, triangles,
the z’s of storm—commending by world’s matter
God’s primordial words. The artist pauses, straightens

edges, steps away, seeing his handiwork in its gratuity—
an offering to others, to the day’s divinities: what could be
more sacramental than to borrow the earth, reshape
and order it, returning it to earth as a diurnal sacrifice?
The work, perfected, moves toward its undoing as the sun

above the distant mesa waits immobile, swelling like
a woman’s body and inflamed, then plunges down,
leaving a ruddy afterbirth. In shadow now, the picture
is erased by him who made it, who himself is dust—bound
to heaven’s motions, honoring God’s time by dying in it.

From Range of Light, Catharine Savage Brosman, LSU Press © 2007. Used with the permission of the author.