Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thanks to a past art teacher

This is a poem about an old instructor of ours at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
He was a remarkable and wonderful painter. Mr. Remenick often comes up in conversations among his past students. We remember his humanity and teaching with fondness.

And Then, Seymour Remenick

And then he wandered through the Louvre
Putting out a cigarette in Paul DuSold’s studio
And then lighting another, and then remembering
Walking up to a Rembrandt and wanting to know
How the other did it; how did he make those paintings
Like pure feelings and humanity fused?
And then he had also gone to the Academie
Des Beaux-Arts on the GI Bill
Right after his unit’s demobilization in Europe,
And then he told me in my studio
Of how he wouldn’t go to classes, only walk
In Paris in Spring and in Summer and Autumn
And in the Louvre, and then he would inhale
As he did then, to pull life into him,
Its very life and spirit, he would intoxicate
Himself and need a cigarette, and then
He would light another. We weighed crits
By the empty shells of Lucky Strikes
He left in a row, from the bandolier of pleasure,
And then Paul thought of Seymour in an American uniform
Getting girls in Paris, and I didn’t think so,
And then I said he was one of the soldiers
Eisenhower sent through Birkenwald or Auschwitz
To witness and remember, and then Seymour
Only told most of us of living, and then living,
And then painting the living of that time he paints
And notices, with the rapture of the world of the living,
Living even more, perhaps, for those refused their lives.

John Sevcik

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