Monday, August 11, 2014

Celestial Visions

View of Little Traverse Bay tonight from Sunset Park, Petoskey, Michigan.
It has been unseasonably dry here, but on the drive home there was a slight rain-sprinkle.

Memory: An Abstraction
                    After Shostakovich's Quartet #10, Opus 118 by Aubrey Williams

At the edge the dusk silhouettes a tree's delta
of branches over a red sky.
In the middle the sun is a spear of bone-white.
Yellow streaks of egg-yolk and the solid vertebrae,
spotted vermilion with flesh, frame everything.
This image, too, uncertain as the music
that traps the seasons in myth,
finds its constant peace in my dreams.

The waterfalls thunder while ghosts whisper their ragged
tales, strips of old cloth flitting in the breeze
despite the groan of the storm in the pound of water.
Above, the sky breaks into shadow. We cannot find our way
back for the charts betray us. We rely on the stars,
but cloud cover mutes the night with flat silence.
We cannot travel in the daytime so we shout and listen.
We have stumbled into language, touching the stones
with our bare feet---these cool humped alphabets sprayed
with water beneath a gray unfeeling dawn.

Kwame Dawes, 
from his Midland, Ohio University Press, 2001, page 21.

The idea of basing a poem on the reaction to a piece of music is a pleasant and interesting one. While I was typing, I thought about strange it might be to try to write to Shostakovich's music. Then I looked up Aubrey Williams (I had assumed he recorded the music) and discovered he was a painter, who once had a whole exhibit of paintings in response to Shostavich in London in 1984. So this is a poem about a painting about a musical composition. Culture just keeps on giving! Do something in response to culture in your own work tomorrow!

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