Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow.
T.S. Eliot (The Journey of the Magi)
I wrote this poem, as I did several of my recently blogged poems, many years ago. In ‘A Death I Die’ below the sober thoughts reflect a dark mood, the reason for which I now have no recollection. For me, at the time of writing, they obviously represented the Shadow, that halfway house between knowing and not-knowing, between what is and what might be, between Eliot’s ‘the motion and the act’.
A DEATH I DIE
I have no heart for selfish love that starts and ends with flesh. It leads along an endless path, it binds, compels afresh.
There is a sort of death I die; Am killed and kill myself. I am alone in this. I am a willing suicide. I go on a journey bearing my own end.
This death is a habit, a nasty selfish habit I know and hate it. I both give and receive. The giving is good – but also a habit.
Receiving – an infinite regression. We plan the means and the end is all. Purgatory is the cemetery, time the resurrection. And All is planned that This should be so.
Photograph of Spencer at work inCookham Village … by WHB . . . 1957
Stanley Spencer, CBE RA (1891 – 1959)was an English painter. Shortly after leaving the Slade School of Art, Spencer became well known for his paintings depicting Biblical scenes occurring as if in Cookham, the small village beside the River Thames where he was born and spent much of his life. Wikipedia
The sleepers awake from an imagined death A teasing adventure in insubstantial earth
Pram pusher extraordinaire in the Village that lit up his life inspired his vision Trundled easel hearse put to work in progress To see, to feel, to breathe destiny on the village green The past become the present resurrected in tranquillity Life-lite under the churchyard yew this moulded flesh – full featured bringing joy from the stern grave Life’s resurrection imagined in hope and the churchyard in his eyes and his pigment Drawn and deified Death and Resurrection as Spring As buttercups in the greenest of fields.
The sleepers awake from an imagined death A pleasing adventure in insubstantial earth
Stanley Spencer: ‘The Resurrection, Cobham … 1924-27. Tate Gallery
A Clerihew is a comic verse consisting of two couplets and a specific rhyming scheme, aabb. It was invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956) at the age of 16. Normally the first line names a person, and the second line ends with something that rhymes with the name of the person. (From: ‘Shadow Poetry’).
Since Damien Stephen Hurst Onto the YBA scene he burst, With dead sheep and bejewelled skull, Artsy Life has never been dull.
David Hockney RA Is top-of-the-pile I would say. His reds, his blues and his greens Are just bursting out of his scenes.
I sing of Sir Stanley Spencer, Painter of Cookham’s splendour. May his ‘Resurrection’ Inspire introspection.
N.B. The Young British Artists, or YBAs—also referred to as Brit artists and Britart—is a loose group of visual artists who first began to exhibit together in London in 1988. Many of the first generation of YBA artists graduated from the BA Fine Art course at Goldsmiths, in the late 1980s, while the second generation mostly came from the Royal College of Art. (Wikipedia)
Not quite the chair she sat in
the burnished gold
Of its throne proud prow so prominent
promising power and privilege but nevertheless a statement burned on the water of its thames-side berth
a metaphor proudly protesting the humility of being ordinary of being old yet proud with the magnificence of age the decadence of time the innocence of resurrection
NOTE: T.S.Eliot, in his poem, ‘The Waste Land’ (Lines 77-79: Part II. A Game of Chess) quotes Enorbarbus, who, inAct II, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s tragedy ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ describes Cleopatra’s royal barge as it appeared when she first pursued Marc Antony:’The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne, Burned in the water. The poop was beaten gold.’