And What Of Art?

It used to be that there was a division
Between the arts, and each had segments, too.
A poem was just a poem, required revision,
A painter mixed his colors – blue was blue,

And didn’t need some trash, or added gravel
To make it more exciting to the eye.
Once dance depicted grace, and human travel
Through life, was not a calisthenic lie.

And when did sculpture morph into some girders,
Well rusted, piled together in a heap?
A thousand of these small aesthetic murders,
And art began to take a frantic leap

Into the current chaos that we think of
As progress; and the little love we keep
For beauty is sunk deep below the stink of
The odor of a rotting garbage heap.


What Matters

Colors are complementary,
And speak of a relationship,
One to another, I can see
No good in color censorship.

Let black lives matter; what of yours?
The image here cannot relate
To white or  brown, or those diverse,
And fosters conflict and dull hate.

.Each tone and color speaks about
Variety and of our lives;
The calm of blue, and bright red’s shout;
When regulated, what survives?.

Not butterfly’s variety,
Or comet’s glow in dark midnight —
A rainbow in a sky of grey,
Dark patterns in a sky of flight;

To those who guard diversity
In every university,
Some colors are less equal now,
Than those with any sense allow.

New Normal’s in, still I allow
I never saw a purple cow.*


*An allusion to the below 1895 nonsense verse by Gelett Burgess

 I Never Saw A Purple Cow

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one


A former Wilbur Fellow and six-time Pushcart nominee, Sally Cook is a regular contributor to National Review, and has appeared in venues as varied as Chronicles, Lighten Up On Line, and TRINACRIA. Also a painter, her present works in the style known as Magic Realism are represented in national collections such as the N.S.D.A.R. Museum in Washington, D.C. and The Burchfield-Penney, Buffalo, NY.

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5 Responses

  1. Red Was Iceblue

    The contrast between Hayter and Basquiat is telling. Basquiat’s painting is a perfect reflection of what Ms. Cook calls “trash” in “And What of Art?” I appreciated her hard-hitting question: “And when did sculpture morph into some girders/ Well rusted, piled together in a heap?”

    Also, I think Mr. Mantyk has done a remarkable job in continuing to publish paintings and pictures with the poems he presents @ SCP. It keeps the visual conversation going.

  2. Bic Uwel, "Erased"


    The painting of a black skull by Jean-Michel Basquiat
    was purchased by Yusaku Maezawa—costly art—
    and sold at Sotheby’s in May of 2017—
    in millions, it ap-prox-i-mate-ly was one-hun-dred-ten—
    110% of life to pay for black on blue,
    white circles dripping where the eyes are violent in view,
    red, gold, and black lines frame those eyes, graffiti nearly square,
    the penetrating gaze askew in heroin’s despair,
    the tic-tac-toes with 5’s and O’s and X’s on the top;
    off to the left, unaddled, A-d l—is slightly dropped.

  3. Shobha Pawar

    Isn’t aesthetics subject to change? If art is the reflection of life, hasn’t life changed? Dismissing some art as trash is as good as dismissing life.
    If art is an expression of what you have felt on your pulse, we cannot dictate the terms for the artist. You are free to dislike something by all means; however, the artist needs his freedom too.
    My appreciation of art is limited to whether the artist has said/painted well what he wants to say. To use the cliche, whether his form and content are finely fused together or not will define his status as an artist.

  4. David Hollywood

    Marvelous defence of standards. We all know the level to which we should try and reach, even if its beyond our capacity, and consequently apply a sense of appreciation. Equally we can recognise works that have no effort or art or skill applied to them, and therefore need to identify these just as readily. I enjoyed the above poetry for their pragmatic candour.

  5. James Sale

    As always, marvellous stuff Sally, especially And What of Art? The phrase, ‘A thousand of these small aesthetic murders’ so perfectly exemplifies what has happened, what ‘we’ have allowed to happen, only there has been a billion of them, over the last century. This is poetry that is clear, combative, and also a clarion call for that other wonderful phrase you use: ‘the little love we keep / For beauty …’ Yes, that is where we must direct our attention – on beauty; and your poetry gives us another taster of it. Thank you.


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