Portrait of Gertrude Stein

(Pablo Picasso, 1906)

A portrait of Gertrude Stein, a portrait
Of Gertrude Stein, so fine, no finer Stein
Than Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein,
A Stein, alas, she’s Gertrude Stein,
Not blue, or rose, or turned to cubes,
She’s just a Stein, Gertrude Stein
So very fine, no other Gertrude Stein,
Alas again, she’s Gertrude Stein,
Stein, Stein, stein.
Even the snow knows what it’s about.


Bus Riders

(George Segal, 1962)

Three riders sit on a bus
Another stands behind
Doing nothing in particular
Expressionless and nondescript
Cast of plaster,
Cotton gauze,
Leather, vinyl, steel and wood
Inanimate things
Trapped in an avalanche of ice
Not saying where they have been
Or where they go
Or who they are
Frozen in time
Like figures from Pompei
Repeating now
For all of time
A single moment in their lives.


Cubi Vi

(David Smith, 1963)

A steel-framed scarecrow
In the grass
With ribs of steel
Burnished legs
Of stainless steel
Criss-crossed
Arms akimbo
Burnished steel
A faceless cube
Its face
Of burnished stainless steel
Pretending to be real
But not
Made to frighten
But cannot
A steel-framed scarecrow
In the grass.