IN THE BEGINNING…

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“The power of the extracted image and the power of a timeless story…” says Simon Pettet, author of Lyrical Poetry. Mary Lou Taylor’s newest publication, In the Beginning, brings you biblical tales—a combination of the poet’s precise meditations on David Park’s delicately sinuous artistry, titled “Genesis Suite.”

This slender publication, put together by Frog on the Moon, a small press, consists of “fourteen stencil prints making a perfect thematic language to tell Bible stories,” as Grace Cavalieri from the Library of Congress puts it. She says, “I love Taylor’s In The Beginning, colorful and meaningful—complete with stunning worlds and visuals; it seems neither poem nor picture could live without the other.” Furthermore, Cavalieri says, “this is bright speech invested in lyric; with sheer lingual strength to make old legends new.”

In this new publication, you will find new poems by Mary Lou Taylor, who was inspired by David Park’s “Genesis Suite“, and as Grace Cavalieri mentions, “has formed a legacy you’ll come back to, for enlightenment and delight. You’ll want to reread, savor, and share this work of art…for the purest pleasure.”

In addition, here are comments from our First Santa Clara County Poet Laureate, (2009-2011) Nils Peterson, Professor Emeritus, San José State University. “To the exquisite prints created by David Park out of stories from Genesis, Mary Lou Taylor adds poems that give context and commentary. Sometimes she even speaks the imagined voices of the actors in that great drama. Together they make a remarkable book, a beautiful book, one that you will want on your shelf to look at and read again and again.”

SOME POEMS FROM IN THE BEGINNING, by Mary Lou Taylor.

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THE CURSE OF CAIN

Cain tilled the earth. Abel kept sheep.

Lord, I bring you fruits from the fertile ground.
Accept them with my respect and love. Cain knelt
before his God in reverential pose.

God refused his offering. I see your brother’s
blood in your mouth. You are a man of wrath.
I accept only Abel’s sheep. Cain became enraged.

Meeting Abel, blood in his eye, Cain lifted a stone.
I am bleeding, brother. Leave me enough to live.
But Cain no longer listened.

God questioned Cain. Where is your brother Abel?
Cain replied, I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?
Cain the first murderer; Able the first to die.

The Lord cursed Cain, saying, You have contaminated
the earth with your brother’s blood. It will no longer
be fruitful in your hands.

Cain left the Lord, banished now to wander, traveling
to the land of Nod, east of Eden.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

DAVID PARK (March 17, 1911-September 20, 1960) was an American painter and a pioneer of the Bay Area Figurative Movement in painting during the 1950’s. A Park retrospective opens later this year at the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art. It comes to SFMOMA in 2020.

Check out other paintings by this artist on the video in this blog.

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