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Art & Architecture

On “Kindred Spirits”

An ekphrastic poem on the imagined conversation between William Cullen Bryant and Thomas Cole.

an ekphrastic poem

Leafy and leafless giants

Loom beneath

Wandering shafts of light to

Illumine

Cavernous crevasses.

Darkened by our verbosity,

An afternoon of pomposity

Is a kindred thing.

We can talk clear out here on this ledge if you feel like it or

We can talk

On a red chalk bluff way out West

If you’d rather.

This land is

Far too perfect

Far too ours

Far too expansive

To interrupt our kindred

Conversation.


This is a poem inspired by the 1849 painting Kindred Spirits by Asher B. Durand.

My poem imagines the conversation between the two men standing on the bluff, naturalist and poet William Cullen Bryant and Hudson River School founder Thomas Cole. Durand painted the work to memorialize Cole, who had recently passed away.

For more about Kindred Spirits, watch this video from Crystal Bridges of American Art. To read my post on Medium about Crystal Bridges, read here.


Thanks for reading!

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By Marilyn

Writes | Teaches | Not sure where one ends and the other begins.

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