Poem #14/52

Here is the fourteenth poem in my 52-poem sequence (one a week) for 2013, followed by some illumination and reflection:

AFTER WARDThe Beautiful Gardener by Ally Thompson

here is the room
where we made love:
consider each white wall
by our echoing voices
a pale ceiling
washed with sighs and laughter.

the windows still smirk
like dirty pictures
which framed
our suggestive silhouettes
the furniture still sags
like drunken soldiers.dorothea-tanning

I sit and contemplate
the years I wasted
wondering how a room
could ever change
and learn how to become
a theatre
a brothel
a cathedral

and silently:

a tomb.

Here we have the other side of the coin then. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? Not now it feels at the time, though. Unusual, not to say unfashionable, for a man to view casual sex from this perspective, but there you have it. We’re not all dunderheads bundering our way through a living porno film, some of us have hearts, which dangle around looking ridiculous and getting in the way just as much as testicles. I better change tack here, since I shudder to think what all those voracious search-bots and spiders will make of this body of text and what they’ll be matching it up with in their trawls.

Since this poem is very much one of a pair, twinned with last week’s poem “The Lover” I feel compelled to include here my brother Ally’s painting “The Beautiful Gardner” which eerily enough, exists in a similar relationship to its twin “The Magical Encounter” which I deployed last week. But looking at the painting now, its imagery doesn’t actually fit the poem all that well.

Trying to think of a different image to go along with this poem, along the lines of rooms changing into other things, I found myself drawn irresistibly to the work of Dorothea Tanning, an artist who deserves much greater recognition than she has achieved hitherto. Being married to the great surrealist genius Max Ernst didn’t seem to do her career any favours, in my estimation, but history is littered with cases like that, Kahlo and Riviera etc. I wonder if that sexist phenomenon has changed in the present day? We hope so. Tanning does interesting things with interiors in her early work, brilliantly evoking the settings of childhood nightmares. As I’ve commented before, I think I can see how she might have influenced Glaswegian artist Heather Nevay, on whom I previously posted here:

Max Ernst’s wives could make a fascinating study in their own right, a kind of Bluebeard’s Castle, including also the wonderful Leonora Carrington.

From the sublime to the ridiculous: next week I’ll be talking about Margaret Thatcher.

This entry was posted in 52 Poem Sequence, Architecture, Art, History, Poetry, Psychology. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Poem #14/52

  1. Pingback: 52 Poems for 2013, 14/52: After Ward

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