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The master, 1941.

If there are legends in life, this is one of them: snowflakes fall on painted mountains--fiery lakes, crystal stars, & so he discovers in the laboratory of nature the controlled accident of art. Far from rootless multitudes of Paris & Berlin, "the modern bacillus"--Jews, he chooses clarity & solitude, chill North light, takes as his name the town he was born in--Nolde, the peasant. Fascinated by flowers & their fate, plants with his wife Frisia's first garden,

bows at height of noon in his white beard to kiss the burning chalice of the poppy. Evening, walks the lowland's glowering orange thunderheads, gold-thatched roofs, black windmills, fields of flax. As the immense red face of the sun, an angry farmer, hissing, sinks into the green wave's mountainous depths a giant hand grasps his. "Brother-in-blood," voices cry & the heart of creation beats of all. Loyal even now in his disloyalty, he draws the shades, prepares before him the forbidden implements. Out his fingertips flow clouds of pure color flowering into feeling. Slowly the veiled shapes reveal themselves. Like a God looking down on the first world, at Seebull he seems shining upon the face of waters the luminous oneness of all things. paints his "Unpainted Pictures." Kilometers away, across teal-blue marsh, grey sea, daystars flash over Peenemunde.
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Author:Asekoff, L.S.
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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