WINDOW SHOPPER’S IVORY
The grand and opulent curve –
the tusk from a beast long gone;
now observed held firm,
upon its dark, exotic wooden base.
At first glance, the surface appears merely uneven;
but a better view reveals the intricate drama –
Convolution of tiny figures,
a great crowd of them,
in all postures of threat and submission,
of dance, ritual, and celebration –
Myth and legend of the Orient:
faces from the carver’s village and family;
of his schooldays . . . and of his dreams;
transposed into their own world,
where the torn and broken . . .
are healed and beautiful.
The making of a jewel endless as Art itself;
which in its painstaking creation,
thousands of hours of work,
becomes more the life of the artist,
than of the elephant from which it came.
At least as seen on pillars of smooth mahogany,
upholding the great, private spectacle:
long as a man reclining . . . in the curve of ivory.