Self and reality. Symbol and language. Myth and image. Memory and consciousness.
Dream and unreality: locus communis.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

psalms of consolation

Today's tanka exists as an earlier version of verse 24 from "Twenty-Six Verses from an Apocryphal Psalm"— in this case the stanza shown below is displayed in a shorter format, a more terse statement than what is embellished with additional lines in "Twenty-six Verses—." The image the tanka promotes intends to shift the wandering focus of the full poem from a melancholy view of faith and organized religion to a progressive acceptance of an Unknowable Divinity. An attempt of the poet-speaker to reach back into childhood and recover the security of traditions and rituals.

The full poem itself still lingers, stalling out, still waiting for a final motion from me. More than one person has told me to let it set back for a few days.

It does make sense, on occasion, to step away from the creative product and hide material for a few days, weeks, or even months. The longest extreme "vacation" I have taken was from a poem I began in the Nineties when I lived in the Central West End of Saint Louis. The work contains one of my longest titles as well— "Fragmented Still Life with Cardoon and Parsnips: After a painting by Juan Sánchez Cotán (circa 1602)"— divided into four sections, each chunk of verse is based on a deconstructed view of the English sonnet form. Collectively, the poem runs with a theme of unrequited love, plus containing a fractured message of regret and (ironically) renewal— as if four separate journal entries were ripped apart and scotch-taped back together. The intentions of the verse began from a poor photocopy I discovered in the trash at a college library, the paper folded into quarters. Each sonnet corresponds with a different division of the artwork.

My point: after working and reworking and re-reworking the phrasing and fragments, it was not until 2012 I finalized a satisfactory version— and one which will be published later this year by a literary journal titled The Meadow, printed by the Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.
On an aside, for a quick second I sought out possible images of the painting which started the whole poem— or at least to find which museum in Spain displays the work. Closest thing I could find is a personal blog about Madrid. The blogger comments that the painting is in Granada.


Furthermore, if you "google" the title "Still Life with Cardoon and Parsnips," more often you find an image from 1604 by the same artist, but this version only contains two groupings of vegetables. Maybe this fact will produce a new set of poems?


174 / a children’s chorus, mid-song, releasing psalms of consolation— unfolding as a prayer, a note in a coat pocket forgotten

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