Tag Archive: sestina

Whistler (Bird Woman)

Linked to dVerse Sestina challenge http://dversepoets.com/2011/09/22/formforall-sestina-and-its-variations/

Torn, Anna Motngomery, Painting, Chromaphilia, Chromapoesy

Torn Anna Montgomery 2011 Oil on Board

(Dedicated to A.S. Byatt, all quotes are from her lips or her books, some of the poem comes from an Artist Statement I wrote for a solo show in 2005)

Whistler (click to hear the poem read)

Her ‘greatest terror which is simply domesticity’ with its denial of liberty
Struggling with feminism: ‘their language, like their bodies, was a dreadful hybrid’
Tyranny was a death sentence, via lethal injection, to her volition
For one who’s ‘passionately interested in language’, her display monumentally erudite
An engagement in the broader world, in an expansive psyche
Within her I recognize genius, incandescent purpose, need, here is my encomia

Prizes line up to offer formal encomia
Each reinforcing and elaborating her intellectual liberty
‘I like to write about people who think, to whom thinking is as important and exciting (and painful) as sex or eating’ in full embrace of psyche
Admitting ‘writing is always so dangerous. It’s very destructive.’ a paradoxical hybrid
A concatenation of zoology, myth, dystopia, psychology, art, politics, ethics truly erudite
Displaying all the passions of mind within her volition

‘She would give anything for a child and had duly given birth to a monster’, this volition
A half-hedgehog half-boy, an ugly creature, hardly her desired encomia
Whom she fed just the same, coddled, and loved for his mind, agile and erudite
Suckling on, then weaned, speaking the half-breed language of liberty
Embracing his role as an evolutionary hybrid
Evolving, Eros to Psyche

‘Structures of authority, of persecution, of hierarchy’ excised from the psyche
All these things ‘which led to oppression’ in a great caving of volition
Were cast aside, power a twisted, engineered hybrid
He’s ‘a naturally pessimistic animal’ leery of encomia
Who set out into the world to define his liberty
Circumnavigating, investigating, experiencing all distilled to become more erudite

Encountering Whistlers, bird women, their ‘feather words and skin words grown into each other’ his sight is erudite
Singing and whistling in a cacophony emitting from the dual psyche
They had been banished, pariah, for their desire and seizing of liberty
Each act of will now a strained volition
‘We wanted the speed and danger of the wind’ the Artic Tern sang our encomia
Twinning dualities longing to be whole or at least embrace multiplicity, no vile hybrid

I hear this echo in in my painting language, a hybrid
Where I spin ambiguity and chaos in a sphere of erudite
Possibilities, pluralism, and paradox not garnering encomia
But pain, confusion, a language unclear, but of the psyche
Birthed from my own volition
An unshackled liberty

Encomium is not a purpose for art, it is a bastard hybrid
Liberty oppressed to the sick purpose of an erudite
Psyche that panders to ambition’s deadly volition

Lacrimosa (A Sestina)

Water flash floods, over desiccated earth,
Red clay, cracked, reaches to the sky, impervious
Lacking the permeability of loam
The blessing of rain is lost to barren
Lands their stunted trees, twisted by the wind, pock marked, and withered
Bounty must await more rain to salve the harrow

Fallow fields, great civilizations hunger, the harrow
A fragile balance, the broken ecology of Earth
Overrun, gassed, and withered
The masses reproducing, consuming, impervious
Traded the abundance for barren
Landscapes which never turned detritus to loam

Ameliorate my heart, enriching loam
Long years of drought and ceaseless harrow
Gasping, tilled with rust stained tools, barren
Churning immeasurable sorrows upon the earth
Song of my inner wilds long impervious
To the once pregnant myth that lies withered

The oak at the gateway to the immortal, withered
Crumbled towers of loam
The gate is barred, impervious
Transcendent vultures cannot harrow
Volcanic, desolate earth
Calling into existence days barren

Art looses its power, healing words are barren
Diaphanous choirs of angels, cherubim and seraphim, withered
Glory turned blind upon the Earth
I build a dwelling place with loam
To carve a niche, survive the circumscribing harrow
Hecate declares all crossroads closed, impervious

Turning to each other impervious
All connection severed, irrigated paths barren
Blackened by unforgiving, shared terror of the harrow
Knots connecting epiphytes to hosts now withered
Striving for heaven too high to ever reach the loam
Roots dangling above the earth

Impervious cries leave me withered
Barren effigies mock my search for the illusive loam
Harrow denies redivivus to a once vibrant Earth.