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Month: October, 2008

in defence of my penchant towards prose

                                                                                                                                          in defence of my penchant towards prose


the problem with poetry ‘s the rhyme,
it takes the seriousness out of the line,
it distracts from its meaning
giving bounce to the reading
forfeiting too much, I think, of the mind
 
not that I don’t like rhythm
but it shouldn’t supplant my mission
of putting the point, the more pertinent point,  
I believe, ahead of often more frivolous composition
                                                                                                                                        forgive then my impertinent prose,
I really don’t mean to oppose,
but I think it’s my lot,
to declare my thought
with less verse
than straightforward opinion

     

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upon being asked to make a poem out of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus”

                  “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus”, c.1558

                            Pieter Bruegel, the Elder

                                    (1525-1569)

                                     __________

                                                                                                                                                                      upon being asked to make a poem out of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus”                                             

                                                                                                                                      what is a poem, the question came up around my earlier errant composition, was what I’d written a poem, though one could be made out between the, dare I say, ivied even cracks
 
something that rhymes, my mom answered when I asked, which mine of course didn’t
 
though mellifluous and rhythmic maybe, and peppered here and there with inventive and artful devices – metaphors, alliteration, onomatopeia, the like, the meat and potatoes, the very stuff, I think, of poems – I still didn’t rhyme, don’t rhyme, and run a sentence on mostly much too long for a proper pentameter
 
like, I guess, a prose poem 
 
or maybe even just prose
 

but about the Bruegel

 

at the back a radiant sun dominates the picture, sheds not only light but life on everything, the sky is thick with grays and blue and takes on actual dimension, whereas a more silken application of paint to the sun makes that orb evanescent, a portal into heaven, a source instead of a force, an opening instead of an engine
 
in the foreground a farmer ploughs his field, another tends his sheep, life is going on despite the splendour 
 
no one notices Icarus either, the flailing figure in the waves, bottom right, drowning, despite the might of the myth, the potency, the poignancy, of the poetry
 
but who notices even poetry 
 
 
across a stretch of water to the horizon and to at its edge the resplendent sun, ships with sails, indeed medieval galleons, sit in the placid harbour of a city in the blue crook of, upper left, a range of mountains, the City of God of Augustine maybe for its iridescent pastels, for its sunlit gold maybe the gilded Greek Atlantis  
                                                                                                                                                                       above the flailing Icarus a ship is setting joyful sail out towards the promise of the blazing sun, the way seems clear

there will be other, it appears, Icaruses

                                                                                                                                                               medieval caricaturization and perspective inextricably of course obtain throughout

 

 

           

 

   

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ekphrasis

                                                                                                                                 ekphrasis

                                                                                                                                      poring among the possibilities the nearby university had to offer – they’re listed in a catalogue they seasonally send around – one on poetry, of course, how to make one out of a painting, stood out, how to make of something visual, a Monet, a Van Gogh, a Renoir, a poem 

ekphrasis, there’s a word for that, I thought

and ate it up

the picture I got to ekphrase, my word for that, was one of a set the teacher sent around of Kobayashis, snapshots, I’d never heard of him, her, either, Milt Kobayashi, all of them intriguing

I quickly snapped one up, letting my instinct instead of my judgment pick it out – I find it’s usually more accurate – in order to keep the ball rolling, not slow things up

a waif in especially blue, the colour also of chairs behind her – like skies in winter, I thought, when the pressure’s up and the light is pale, colours aren’t crisp but muted – making that sort of association, hoping that wouldn’t be unintelligent

rudimentary roses, wine red, spotted here and there her blue skirt, more like patches than ornamental flowers, a black top the colour of her jet black hair was cut low in a U at her neck, she leaned against a wall, itself nondescript, at the right of the picture, her left, far to that side, and in her own black shadow there splashed upon the wall, a fathomless apparently abyss, seemed to find refuge, a respite, like a womb, pushing herself and it nearly right out of the picture

her arms were crossed, but one reached for her shoulder, lightly resting there, covering inadvertently, or not, her chest, and by my inference her soul, her modesty, her bosom, whereupon, like Michelangelo’s God touched Adam, with love, light and understanding, inadvertently again or not, she touched mine

and her black, plaintive eyes were looking right back

                                                                                                                                     there’s next to nothing on the spartan walls, the table is somewhat set, but light reflected off some glasses there, and dishes, is gleaming, like in Dutch still lifes, artfully, and delightfully

“The Last Table” it’s called, though I’m not too sure what that’s about, a waitress calling it a day, a playful reference somehow to da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” maybe 

that’s what I’d have to make into a poem, ekphrase

 

               

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