Thursday, 29 May 2014

Poems and paintings

For a while, I worked on a book of poems inspired by paintings with a fellow artist. We worked and I was writing verses to the themes of the paintings, albeit based on my reaction to the visual stimulus of the paintings. The painter is the Ukrainian/American artist, Olga Dmytrenko. Here's an example:


Nowhere is the home of the lost souls.
They have detached themselves from self
and started on the journey there.
They have swathed themselves
in cumulus and floated 
into the darkest barriers
of the sky.
They have crossed the clouds
that heavy with rain
have wrapped themselves around the sun.
At last they reach the pink of dawn
and go beyond.
Their home is nowhere in the blue
of a pristine sky.


I don't really know why, but the project petered out!
Now I'm reviving it, but with my own paintings. 'Trapeze' is a diptych and was painted a few years ago. I think the poems were written about the same time.

'Trapeze I'
They saw him fall.
Hundreds watching from the tiers,
Dreaming they were flying, too.
Holding their breaths,
Eyes wide open,
Necks strained stiff from peering
Upwards into the turret.

They saw him fall.
The music played a penny waltz,
A drum roll started.
Here he comes,
They whispered, gasped,
Hoped and prayed
To no avail.

They saw him fall
Like a china doll.
Lifeless now.
His wings are clipped.
The trapeze swings on
From its silver hooks.

Waiting for someone to fly again.


'Trapeze II'

They saw him fall.
The drummer struck with even thuds.
They bore his body forth without a word.
Heads bowed in grief,
Tears shed in shock.
How brave he was.

They saw him fall and rise again.
A sudden wind,
A swish of cape.
It’s the trapeze,
It’s swinging
Of its own accord.

There’s nothing there,
A small child called.
There’s no one riding
On the swing.
I saw him fall.

Be quiet now.
He’s going to swing
From here right to eternity.

The paintings united: