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Poetry and Medicine
June 13, 2017

Song for Pollock

Author Affiliations
  • 1McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics, University of Texas Medical School, Houston
JAMA. 2017;317(22):2338. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.0863

When Pollock spoke of energy made visible,
did he mean the fiery banners of his canvases—
those vagrant drizzles, vibrant splashes he left
just so, circular dynamics five centuries old?
The visual vortex they present won’t soon
unclench its grip. He made that kind of current,
like a live wire traveling back and back
to Renaissance battles of horse-borne chaos,
but also forward, futureward, to you,
my fellow museumgoer, standing alone
this crisp November morning in Houston,
perfectly still in your autumn cardigan,
a single wrist enclosed in a gentle bracelet
of fingers, an air of composed self-containment.

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