Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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RIP Ben Bradlee

RIP Ben Bradlee
One of our nation's best.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sunday Night Poetry

HER BLUE ROBE 

I was never a bishop, but the world's 
A dream we die in.  I breathe 

Into a blue robe, take day lilies 
From a jar out of her room

To a pail in the yard. Who would 
Believe the grass growing so quickly 

Between the bricks, the purslane 
Spreading like rash over the patio. 

We're done with her dresses, hangers 
And plastic bags, the trunk of yarn. 

Stepping over collapsed boxes of shoes, 
I carry the last collection of holy cards 

To the yard and burn the saints 
With matches, that from these may grow 

 In full sight of her in pure stone, 
 The other life, continuing long.

                           --S.K.

9 comments:

FreeThinke said...

The language may seem cryptic at first, but the images are beautiful --the effect touching.

Your grandmother, perhaps? Your mother? A beloved aunt or older sister?

Specifics of that sort that don't matter where grief is involved.

If her robe had been pink, or red, or flowered, instead of blue, your poem could not have happened as it did.

Thank you for these Sunday sharings.

~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

In Memoriam

With you I always saw the potted palms
Marble floors and Chinese jardinieres
Polished ancient oak and well-worn arms
Of venerable tufted leather chairs.

Curious how your face evoked the glow
Of firelight and candles in old brass!
When I knew you, the wine had ceased to flow,
And so, I have no love for Irish glass.

But crewel and damask –– spices from the East ––
Herbal tea and pottery Quimper
Feed my sorrow, as my my eyes do feast
On relics left from life within your care.

O, dearest, gentle one you were the Past ––
A waking dream –– a joy that could not last.


~ FreeThinke (1984)

Silverfiddle said...

Finally! Something I can enjoy. I enjoy the imagery and rhythm, but I confess it is an enigma. I'll have to reread.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Thank you for your poem. Very beautiful; very touching. The imagery shines. Was this published?

You guessed correctly, my poem was written about my mother.

SF. The poem is about sorting out the belongings of the departed loved one. And coming to terms with her death.

Silverfiddle said...

Thank you for the guidance. It is now very touching.

It appears FT is better at this than I am.

FreeThinke said...

People, people who love poets,
Are the luckiest people in the world.

Poets are very special people.
They're the luckiest people in the world
... ;-)

I take a risk in saying this, but poetry is like humor in this regard: If you have to explain it, it loses much of its impact.

The same is true of classical music. Too much study of "Form and Analysis" -- too much Biographical Data about what Beethoven ate for breakfast or whom Wagner might have slept with -- too much self-aggrandizing blather and rhapsodizing on the part of critics -- all that can rob music and art of its spontaneous appeal to the emotions.

I earned three degrees in the field -- an education for which I'm very grateful -- yet I have to say it took decades to recover my youthful enthusiasm and pure enjoyment after being subjected to the treatment of Music as an academic subject for too many years.

Unfortunately, there is still too much truth in the adage, "Those who can do; those who can't teach." This is especially true in the Arts.

If there had been more teachers like Igor Buketoff and the young Leonard Bernstein, both of whom did a thoroughly magnificent job running the Young Peoples' Concerts at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center when I was a lad, I wouldn't feel any need to say what I've just said, I'm sure.

NOTHING in Art can -- or should -- EVER be cut and dried. Once that occurs, it ceases to be art.

If Poetry, Art and Music could really be "taught," Leopold Mozart and Carl Czerny would have be considered great composers today.

In essence "Art" is all about imagination, and capturing insights, then presenting them in such a way that it stimulates an empathetic, enthusiastic response in readers and audiences.

We can teach a lot ABOUT Art, but we cannot create it through the teaching process. All we can do is hand pupils the building blocks. After that it's entirely up to them.

Creative geniuses are extremely rare, and for the most part they are born not made. Unfortunately, people who appreciate them have always been in short supply.

~ FT

Shaw Kenawe said...

Very well said.

Many years ago, I studied with Boston sculptor, Peter Abate, at the Decordova Museum in Lincoln, Mass., and at his private studio in Brookline, Mass. I struggled with creating the human figure, and realized I would never be able to form one as perfectly correct as some of my fellow students. Peter gave me some great insight into why I should not despair. The student next to me could render the nude female figure to perfection, while I could only hope to create a mannerist form from our live model.

Peter made me look at both the perfect rendition of the nude female figure made by my fellow student and then he made me look at mine. This is what he told me: The perfect rendition was "dead" in its perfection, whereas, he told me, my model was full of feeling and life, and that is what matters most in sculpture.

That gave me the confidence I needed to continue to study and create other pieces, one of which is my avatar, Artemis.

Peter also taught me this: "Work is what you do for others; art is what you do for yourself."


FreeThinke said...

I think I would have liked Peter very much, Ms Shaw.

There's a great danger of sterility in producing mere technical perfection, though I still strive for it in my daily practice sessions at the piano.

One always has to maintain a delicate balance in instrumental playing between staying in close contact with the life of the piece while maintaining enough objectivity not let yourself get so carried away as to impel you towards disaster.

The latter can put you in the unenviable position of a rider who has dropped the reins while sitting astride a galloping thoroughbred -- a terrifying experience that could lead either to a broken neck or a broken horse -- possibly both.

Complete freedom can be off-putting. Perhaps that's why I rely so much on adherence to strict classical forms in my own attempts at writing poetry?

Shaw Kenawe said...

I'm reading a bio of Glenn Gould. What is your opinion of him?

He came to my mind when you wrote of playing with perfection and heart.

Alicia de Larrocha? Jonathan Bis?