Robbi Nester and Ira Joel Haber: Art inspired by Poetry


Robbi Nester is the author of a chapbook, Balance(White Violet, 2012), and a collection of poems, A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014) . She is the editor of an anthology,The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! (Nine Toes, 2014) and a forthcoming anthology, Over the Moon: Birds, Beasts, and Trees—celebrating the photography of Beth Moon, which will be published on Poemeleon Poetry Journal’s website. She has also collaborated with Ira Joel Haber and other visual artists on an ekphrastic manuscript, Together, which is still looking for a home.

Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, writer, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in the USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum,The Albright-Knox Art Gallery & The Allen Memorial Art Museum. Since 2006 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 200 on line and print magazines He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Pollock-Krasner grants, the Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grant and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fellowship Inc. He currently teaches art to retired public school teachers at The United Federation of Teachers program in Brooklyn

To Be Continued

Today is not the end of the world.
In the pantry, a white
splinter of onion like a narwhal
charting its arctic course
twists toward the light.

I think of stout Shackleton
and his Endurance
how he crossed Antarctica
but lost his ship in 1914.
A world bereft of color
where the eyes starved
and the body too.

How did they spend
two years adrift on ice,
given up for lost,
to return at last,
as though Odysseus
had come again to Ithaca
with all his crew?
The frozen ocean took
almost a year to upend
the wooden ship, last of its kind.
They packed their stores
in lifeboats that would be
their world, taking the heavy
photographic plates,
our record of those years.

For all the loneliness,
they never were alone.
A pod of orca in pursuit
of seals once tore through
ice, encountered them—
no doubt in mutual surprise.
Emperor Penguins shuffled
across ice fields, eggs
balanced on their feet.

Sometimes the sun would
rise and set three times
before the end of day, if
ending has a meaning in this place.
And all the elements that had
seemed kind conspired to kill.
Even spring, melting the floes
that served them for a home,
turned loose what they deemed
solid, making each step
likely to become their last.
The Southern Lights must
have rung the stars with its
magnetic charge, but
did they even hear that, nestled
deep inside their fur-lined bags?

There is no easy ending.
The world goes on and on,
and somewhere, even now,
new worlds are being born
or found or made. Deep in space
or in the body’s fastness,
or freed from under ice.


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