Thursday, 26 July 2012

Titian Poem

Static against the shifting;
Rippled reflections more real
Than reality. Materiality of
changes seen in glass, pearls,
Eyes belying senses choice.
All ideas, bodies, minds in flux

And this for the Twitter version

Static against shifting/Rippled reflections more real/Than reality. Materiality of/Changes seen belying senses/All ideas in flux #titianpoem

Monday, 23 July 2012

Virgin Nature

You can dress it up how you like
That statute of the Virgin under
That symbolic Cross of Roman torture

They look out across the dividing strait
Overlooking the slanted rocks
Formed millennia ago long before us

That's no young Christian god for me
It's ancient, spirits of ages long since Here; as sea beds rose, so did they.

Look, listen, eyes closed, body prone
In the deafening peace of the solitude.
Feel their pulse in the waves, light, sound.

Yes the Virgin stands with flowers there
See her, admire her for her pagan past
She is timeless nature, sublime and true.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Epic Poets

Oh, you bards of old with your tales
Of changes, voyages and wars!
How easy it is to imagine you
Looking around and listening and taking
Dictation from gods direct.

The sea invites the intrepid,
Rocky inlets to shelter the brave
To moor safely and trees to shade.
Lighting fires for home hearths and gather
Telling eternal stories of might.

The hills encourage the hardy;
Neither shelter nor cave is seen
The loneliness of black speck soars.
Still, the grey scrub offers scented breeze
A perfect stage for those ancient giants

As the sky darkens and storms roll by
Violet flashes illuminate the bay
Where are you now, oh bards of old?
Spin us your threads, carve us your heros
A night like this speaks your thunder.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Encounters: Hilary Mantel at the National Gallery

It seems that the National Gallery is busily knitting threads between all the different London arts. There is the incredible Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 exhibition which is the product of a successful collaboration between the Royal Ballet, contemporary artists, poets, composers and choreographers. In addition to this, the Gallery has also been encouraging modern writers to consider how they look at and write about art in 'Encounters: Writers on Writing about Art'. The first was by Edmund de Waal, the second (which I missed) was James Elkins and the final one last night was Hilary Mantel.

Where de Waal used modern, impressionist art to provide a psychological insight into his family history, Hilary Mantel was haunted  by the lush materiality of Holbein's 'The Ambassadors'. It was an image that she and her husband took everywhere; a constant link with home and always the first thing on the wall in a new place. She liked to think of Jean de Dinteville and his friend Georges de Selve looking down at sights that they couldn't have possibly imagined and she was inspired by their vital presence and worldly sophistication.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Strange Hungers: Strange thought processes

A good exhibition should spark a thought which sets your whole mind alight, a beacon of artistic ideas, illuminating a world of experiences and memories. Today an artist set me thinking about feminism or being a feminist. It’s not a fashionable term or label but as an intelligent thoughtful human, I take it for granted that women can participate fully within society. The merest suggestion I can or can’t do something because of my sex, is for me, a ridiculous idea.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

And now for something a little more personal again. My saintly diet went on holiday for the weekend. I shall loftily call it a religious retreat as there was a christening involved. And wine. For those interested in the state of my diet grace, we had a lovely light pasta dinner on Friday, then a Saturday Chinese, followed by a buffet lunch on Sunday with rather yummy sparking wine.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Ut pictura poesis: Or, poetry in stillness

Paul Writing, c.1894 by Camille Pissarro
Forgive the Latin pretension but I'm talking about poetry and it's a licence to be pretentious, sadly. I occasionally word dabble, people I know are prone to versification and it turns out theatrical types enjoy mangling the recitation of it (more of that anon). But despite its perceived inaccessibility, for me it remains a perfect tool to try to describe art and reactions to art because 'poetry (more than anything else) resembles painting'.

My poetic weekend started Friday with Edmund de Waal, potter and author giving a lecture at the National Gallery. Ostensibly it was about how he approached the challenges of writing about art and his art collecting forebears. However given his thoughtful sensitive approach, his talk went much deeper and he shared what has happened to his art as a result of his writing and it set me thinking about poetry.