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1916, Eyes

1919, Shepherd
1924, Man
1924, Mine
1925, Son Father 
1925. Brian K
1926, Barb W
1928, Shepherd
(1928, Lights)
1930, Eyes
1935, When Man
1936,  Matthews
1936, The Mine
1936, Wild Brian
1937, West  Gold
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1937, Californian
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1949, Massacre
1959, Shep (TV)
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E Clampus Vitus
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Harold Bell Wright wrote this poem to express his thanks to his friend, Hovsep Pushman, after Pushman painted a picture of a woman and presented the painting to Wright as a gift.  Wright hand-lettered this poem of thanks on one large (poster sized) sheet of paper, which until recently was displayed in the Harold Bell Wright Museum in Branson, MO.  Wright then made a few custom copies of the poem in a very ornate booklet, and gave those copies to friends.  The only such copy I am aware of is in the New York Public Library. 

On A Portrait of a Woman
Painted by
Hovsep Pushman

What wondrous magic hath this brush of thine,
Thou painter of the truth that doth so deep
Beneath the surface of our being lie.
What colors these that thou dost make to voice
In Loveliness so rare the mystic call
Of verities that live so close to God.
From whom hast thou the cunning thus to catch,
With net of pigments on the palette set,
This potent beauty that so shyly lurks
In the sweet wilderness of this fair flesh? 

What art is this to light on canvas dull
This glowing inner fire of womanhood,--
A fire that since Creation’s awful dawn
Hath warmed the world?  And as the forge doth give
The iron hot for shaping by the smith’s
Strong hand, so from this fire hath come the steel
That on the anvil of the centuries
The hand of God hath shapen into man. 

And Thou hast dared to put it here:
A call and challenge bold to every living soul
That hath the strength to stand before thy work
With vision clear and understanding mind. 

I look into those eyes: deep wells they are
Of that eternal mystery which God
Doth ever hide in lovely womanhood,
And, hiding thus, doth still reveal; and from
The deepest depth of this that is myself
Goes forth a something that is more than love—
If more than love can be—a something that
No man can tell in terms of mortal speech,
Or weigh and measure by the poet’s art,
Than craft of chemistry can analyze
The beauty of the sunset skies, or weigh
The dreamy hush of twilight’s dusky hour,
Or tell the triumph of victorious dawn,
Or fix the golden glory of the full day. 

Find, if thou canst, my artist-friend, in these
Rude and halting words of mine a token
Of my love for thee and tribute to a
Master I would serve gladly and with pride.
Well hast thou wrought, and royally, and thy
Reward shall royal be; for, ever, here,
In this, thy work, shalt thou surely know thy
God;  and ever, through this art of thine, God
Himself to men shall mightily proclaim His
Truth, eternal and omnipotent; and
To this, thy message, must mankind respond.
Or else, in want of soul, the world were dead.
Poor, in truth, is that one who fails to claim
Under the law of God, who doth deed His
Sons this wealth of woman-soul to lead them
Higher than they ever otherwise in
Mortal guise could climb, His full right divine
And title clear to the rich estate thy
Native genius rare and fine doth here portray. 

I thank thee, painter of these inner truths,
For this that thou has done for me.  To make
Thy picture mine, my purse doth not permit;
Yet mine it is—nor all the foolish laws
That mortals make our bills of sale and titles
To defend can controvert my claim. 

“Mission Inn”
    
Feb., 1919
Harold Bell Wright

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This Harold Bell Wright web site is written and produced by Gerry Chudleigh with the help of many friends.
Copyright © 2000-May, 2011 by Gerry Chudleigh
Last updated 05/26/11