Winslow Homer, Masterworks, and My Poem “Bermudiana”

May 21, 2013

Inland Water by Winslow Homer

Inland Water by Winslow Homer

We’ve just returned from a remarkable trip to Bermuda, where Samantha and I got engaged, and, frankly, we fell in love with the place.

The colors, the scents, the sounds, and the magical experiences we had — a bit like Alice in her Wonderland, actually, just took us deeper and deeper.

One such experience was meeting Tom Butterfield and Elise Outerbridge of the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, which has as part of its mission the repatriation of works created by world renowned artists in Bermuda.

When we were there, Tom was hanging a show of Brooklyn artist Ogden Pleissner’s watercolors painted at St. George’s on the far eastern part of the country.

He took us down into the archives to see Georgia O’Keefe’s charcoal of a banyan tree, and Winslow Homer’s “Inland Water,” which was painted not far from where we were staying in Warwick Parish.

Samantha challenged me to write poetry inspired by Bermuda — not easy to do after a month of writing a poem-a-day during the month of April. But when we got home, my notes proved to have some gems.

Here is the first that has emerged,

“Bermudiana”

 

Light refracts off turquoise waters,

But “turquoise waters” sounds so trite

And cliché, until you see it’s true.

Not since Indonesia have I seen such a color.

Then there’s the colorful pastel houses

Of yellow and sea green,

Sage, russet, the occasional purple,

The coral pink ferry stops –

All with whitewashed limestone roofs,

Stepped and sculpted to channel and capture

Rain; the islands’ only source of fresh water.

These islands are awash with color–

Flowers from the tiny, purple-blue Bermudiana

To the brilliant red hubris of Chinese hibiscus,

Shrimp plant, with its shriveled crustacean-hued

Flowers stacked along the stalk,

And morning glories, a soft purple

Bruise against green skin–

 

Light is texture here, which is perhaps

Precisely why painters, especially

Watercolourists, have been so inspired

By this land- and seascape.

The island across the way from us

Was captured by Winslow Homer,

In the painting we saw at Masterworks.

The perfume of the air, frangipani

(Or was it something else?),

Which scents the towels during our stay.

We find ourselves exploring

All over Bermuda, drinking it in,

With our Dark ‘n’ Stormies.

We will leave a part of ourselves

Here, as we take back memories

Of being transported to the beginning

Of our beautiful engagement.

What a place for a proposal;

What a place to conjure

using all our senses,

and all of our sensibilities.

–Scott Edward Anderson
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7 Responses to “Winslow Homer, Masterworks, and My Poem “Bermudiana””

  1. Lee Langbaum Says:

    So expressive…..could feel, taste, smell the island….all from your words! Xoxo

    Sent from my iPad

  2. L.L. Barkat Says:

    Aw 🙂 congratulations.

    And who wouldn’t love to have a poem rich with images like these, to remember the occasion by?

  3. Chrissy Says:

    Beautiful depiction.


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