The Four Color Conjecture

Mark H. Clarke

Take a sampling of poetry from the best local poets and simply print them out on thick, good quality, legal-size paper divided into quarter folds; stuff them in an envelope of like quality with the title and the featured poet printed on the outside; sell for $4.50. This cheap and efficient, clean and simple concept is the basis for local poet and nurse Mark H. Clarke’s Myrmex Press. So far, he’s printed Bob Garner’s Cote and his own The Four Color Conjecture: six small, sensitive observation poems in which watercolor washes, tomatoes bursting “still on the vine” and other rich images suggest stories of life and dying. Best of all is the homage to famous blacksmith/author/sculptor Alexander Weygers, “The Colors of Alexander Weygers.” Clarke simply describes the life of a chisel, a process that, in the hands of this poet, parallels our own aging process and a human’s lifetime of work: “Edge worn round,/ regrinding will give only sharpness not hardness/ sharpness quickly nicked,/ no fierceness without tempering./And for all its flaring drama,/ the heat and smoke of the forge,/ fire is only part./ To temper steel,/ the key is in the quenching.”