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Life Arts

The Canvas of War, Vancouver Art Gallery

By Lesley Kimball  Posted by Michael Bonanno (about the submitter)     Permalink
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The paintings of war show dead and dying trees
standing sentinel over men, chaos and fire.
The wounding of the world should bring us to our knees.

We've come to see what such art achieves:
Bare, tangled limbs pantomiming a funeral pyre.
The paintings of war show dead and dying trees.

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Frame after frame, the air grows still with our unease;
dead landscapes cradle bodies, uniformed in the mire.
The wounding of the world should bring us to our knees.

To which gods can we appeal, what offer to appease
their vengeful spirits? Gods of war or art or higher?
The paintings of war show dead and dying trees.

Yes, soldiers too, dead and dying, who seize
our gaze and seem to cry through the haze as a choir:
The wounding of the world has brought us to our knees.

No patriotic speeches here; pain and paint frees
us from rhetoric, exposing the lie and the liar.
The paintings of war show dead and dying trees.
The wounding of the world will bring us to our knees.

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Lesley Kimball

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