The other day I came across a slide of a painting I did back in 1985, part of a series of works on plexiglass. Shortly after the series first exhibited at Foster-White in Seattle, I met the poet Sam Hamill. From this came a life-long friendship and two collaborative books. ‘Treblinka Lights’ is from our first collaboration entitled Passport. Our second book, entitled Mandala, are monotypes and poems in homage to Morris Graves. Sam is one of the participating poets in The Maenam Project, about which more is soon to come.
Poet Robert Bringhurst wrote: “The voice in these poems is human yet timeless, resonant yet unpretentious, muscular, yet clear. It speaks with the authenticity of rocks and trees, and its roots are like rivers and oceans: a map of the world.”
The clatter of hooves on cobblestone,
everything stops together.
In Treblinka, the snow has stopped falling,
and the inmates
lie in their racks.
Some are punished for reading,
some who witnessed crimes
have turned their backs
and listen for the footsteps
of Thanatos in the night.
The ants are stacking the cold.
Someone moves a hand.
Someone moves a heart.
It is spring in the old country.
There is neither hope nor light.
One dreams, one dies,
one remembers a child
while one is turning to ice.
Thanatos makes us equal in his eyes.
poem, Sam Hamill
painting, Galen Garwood
from PASSPORT, 1989