Red, dull in bright sunshine, with edges worn, rounded. The history of then and now in each separation, each drop that flows between them a microcosm of all that has passed, will pass, the traffic of millennia leaving impressions upon which all that follows is built.
On the edge of nowhere In the middle of everywhere In your heart And in your mind Right there, before your eyes Each new sunrise That awaits you Holds a potential That is yours to discover
This is my response to Poetics: The Light of “Vika Muse,” which is to write a poem inspired by the graphic art of Vika Muse, whose work can be on Instagram @get.muse. I have chosen Perfect Autumn. (Click image for larger view in new tab.)
What is distance when you pass before us, out of reach, yet so large, so bright as to blind any who gaze upon you? When you dwarf any chariot we send your way, your passage from horizon to horizon will always remain a mystery.
This ekphrastic poem, inspired by an image from Astronomy Picture of the Day, is in response to Day 11 at napowrimo.net, where we are asked to “write a poem about a very large thing.”
An ill wind blows. And so they march to any border but the border that brings this madness upon them, with nothing on their backs but sacks of sorrows, the weight imposed by clouds of war come to life, their lives in turmoil, their soil no longer theirs.
What rises from this wheel is at the mercy of the hands that shape it.
Will there be traces of the elements that go into its making?
Or will the making remove the traces of all that came before? Will it rise,
or will the hands that determine its future crush all that lies within in it,
like tanks rolling across a border that means nothing to those hands?
This poem is my response to The Sunday Muse #200, which offers ten of the top viewed prompt images of the last four years. When I used this image last year it was for a love poem. The current invasion of Ukraine by Russia sends my thoughts in a different direction.
Rock and snow my prison cell Stranded in the midst of beauty Blue waves and sky no consolation Thoughts of rescue from this desolation
Now as distant as a passing ship, With its snapping sails A faint syncopation Against the murmur of swans
Taunting me from afar The freedom of their aerial maneuvers Bringing only profound sadness Each passing day
The spark of hope dimmer Until frozen Splintering, shattering Finally gone
“Desolation” has it’s roots in a poem I wrote for a prompt from Jane Dougherty and subsequently edited for The Ekphrastic Review, where it was published in October 2018. It was inspired by In the Blue Expanse, by Arkady Rylov, and can be found here.
Joy has the power to lift the shadows of sorrow. Though they may persist, they do not cancel celebration, which has a power of its own. To own that is an expression of freedom.
The sculpture above, titled “Adjacent,” is by Chad La Fever and is being dedicated Sunday as part of Juneteenth celebrations in Jefferson City, Missouri (the state capital). The sculpture, made from silicon bronze with a clear lacquer seal and wax, stands about 7 feet tall and is one of many planned for Community Park in the Historic Foot District Area Sculpture Series, a focus on the experiences of African American Jefferson City residents during the world wars and segregation. About the sculpture, the artist says,
“The sculpture is a commentary on segregated co-existence and represents the very different lives of Black and white people living near one another, yet worlds apart. “Both figures are standing together in familiar and intimate proximity, but a wide gulf existing between the figures prevents them from being fully engaged. With heads hung and nearly in contact, there is a sense of sadness, hesitation and resignation. But there is also the feeling that the two figures are coming together with the intention of moving forward.”