Friday, April 27, 2012

Embracing Bohemia

'France Embraces Bohemia,' Alphonse Mucha

Embracing Bohemia



Bend your head my love
with its tangle-curls in anarchy
all concealed
under the perfect fool’s rabbitcap
and kiss the spot
where the religion left
for brighter colors,
where it runed itself
to carmine sheets and mica nights
pandemics of poetry and laughter
ékstasis on a cross of commonality
where soul passes light to soul
through its thinnest wall
osmotically less to more towards
the forever lost it seeks 
and never finds.

Let the loop in your right hand be infinity,
tying us to the gypsy coloured wheel
flowered with dark eyes, reading and riding
the tarot of caresses, hoops extravagant in our
bell deafened ears, bleeding only the stigmata
of sighs, lotus-drunk on windfalls
of heaven’s too high fruit.
Drop the cord from your free hand
and loosen my boundaries
all the ties that scour and pinch
their rawhide demands.
Paint every line incarnadine
with the flourish of the faun,
all coverings shed white
as evening snow drifting
through the temple doorway.

Blue night tattoos with shadow
the nakedness shown to us alone
where there is no longer 
even a skin to separate
the woman on the cross 
from the stone.



April 2012
posted for   real toads
Fireblossom Friday Challenge: The Art of Alphonse Mucha



The Czech artist Alphonse Mucha is mostly known for his stylized Art Nouveau depictions of women in illustrations, advertisements and set poses,(in fact Art Nouveau was originally called Style Mucha) but he also painted other subjects, including archetypal allegories like this, and a series of twenty large canvasses depicting the history of the Czech and Slavic people. His poster-style work is so well known I wanted to chose a painting a bit off the beaten track, and this one definitely brought out my Bohemian tendencies. You can see a broad range of his art at the wikipaintings.org link provided below.

Optional Musical Accompaniment







Image: France Embraces Bohemia, by Alphonse Mucha  c. 1918, oil on canvas
Public Domain, via wikipaintings.org

25 comments:

  1. "...lotus-drunk on windfalls of heaven's too high fruit"....wow! From the painting throughout the lines of your poem, I imbibed amazement with my morning tea. Wowzers, kiddo. Fantastic and brilliant.

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  2. Yes, the lead pic is an odd painting, which I take to be bit of wish-fulfillment on Mucha's part (though France may have been more complicit in the success of Art Noveau than America could ever be). Your poem is tightly laced into that conceit, that the freedom of art could become a polity of the land, dawn become high noon of the Age of Aquarius, a person's exuberance be accepted as well by the outer world as it is romanced by the inner one. Hippie dreams die slowly, if ever; always the hope that bohemian rhapsody morph from "The Rite of Spring" into The Summer of Love. It's all so powerful but the crayons were wildest for me at

    ... kiss the spot
    where the religion left
    for brighter colors,
    where it runed itself
    to carmine sheets and mica nights
    pandemics of poetry and laughter
    ékstasis on a cross of commonality
    where soul passes light to soul
    through its thinnest wall
    osmotically less to more towards
    the forever lost it seeks
    and never finds.

    Tremendous. -- Brendan

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    1. ah there are some really beautiful lines in this hedge...

      kiss the spot
      where the religion left
      for brighter colors

      love that and the binding to the gypsy wheel with infinity...love it...like the use of mica as a color as well...and it gives texture too...lots of color through out...love it hedge

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    2. Yeah--I thought it was an interesting painting--I also love Mucha's more well-known works, but something about this one just grabbed me--I think it was the hat. Anyway, it's pretty purely an ekphrasis sort of poem, on what it would be like if society could tolerate the chaos and disorder of the creative, as well as the sublime. You read the subtext well,B. and thanks for your insight.

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  3. Amazing poetry ... I am embracing my inner Stevie Nicks while humming Losing My Religion .. I loved this!!!

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  4. Oooh, I love the carmine sheets and mica nights, the sense of giving all to the abandonment of love in the flesh, turning deaf ears to the admonitions of a repressed society.
    Let the loop in your hand be infinity... Indeed.

    And the beautiful closing lines of the final stanza earned a vocal, "Yes!" from me.

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  5. Gorgeous:

    "through its thinnest wall
    osmotically less to more towards
    the forever lost"

    "bleeding only the stigmata
    of sighs, lotus-drunk on windfalls"

    "Blue night tattoos with shadow
    the nakedness shown to us alone"

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  6. Yes, a gorgeous intense poem. I agree with Brian, and Sherry Blue Sky and Brendan and Helen and Kerry and Shawna - I am getting very tired over here and actually working on tax memos. Ha. (A welcome break from poetry - it's gotten that bad!) You're holding out to the bitter end I see! It's also really cold here. And damp. What other complaints do I have!? Can't quite claim cross or stone, but could use some....elephants! (Not the Republican kind.) K.

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    1. Hang in there, K. I do know what you mean though. I'm taking a couple of days off to pull weeds--about on the same level as tax memos except the pay is worse--when all this is over. Thanks for reading, and may the elephants let you ride on their backs in those funny platform things when you get too tired to walk. ;-)

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  7. Hedge, you wrote something today, in this poem, that spoke right to the pit of anger in my stomach...about religions, which I believe are all cults....and the shameful chameleon behavior of them all. And more.

    This is a fantastic poem. You can turn an image, a phrase, that lights up the entire page. It speaks to something so damn fundamental in me, uncovered today with a rage against something. Cruelty of humanity and hyprocracy I guess. My own, too. Perhaps the smugness of religious people...

    You have become my favorite poet, Joy, over the year. You speak without a mute to my soul.

    Jane

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    1. Thank you, Jane, for the high praise. I'm glad this poem struck a chord.

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  8. As always, you create the most vivid images.

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  9. Ah religion..it does strike a bitter chord in me at times..a wonderful poem of vivid imagery and vivid word choice. Again I am in in awe of your talent.

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  10. "heaven's too-high fruit"

    To me, and I may be missing the point entirely, but to me this small phrase is the crux of the whole thing. The scene you describe, the entire attitude the poem embodies, is full of an almost random, scattershot seeking after the high of creative disorder and freedom. But, in the end, that's not how real art is made, and in the end it's no more holy or blessed than the unbeautiful and prosaic stone. At least, that's how I read it.

    Thanks so much, my dear friend, for being part of my challenge. It's fitting, knowing you, that you would choose a rather different painting than most. Thanks again.

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  11. Wow. This is so powerful. Much of my writing has led me to expect the retributive bolt of lightening. When it comes, I'm thinking that maybe you should consider ducking too.

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    1. Oh, there's a warm place all waiting for me when I go, I'm sure. ;-) That's okay--don't think I'd fit in in the other anyway.

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  12. I know the painting is post WWI, but your words took me even further back, to the crusades and the burning of Bohemian heretics. Just my take.

    Beautiful piece of writing, Hedge.

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  13. Holy holy holy lord god almighty. I close my eyes and savor your language, and most especially the play of thoughts that closes me in. Having left religion behind (for brighter colors), this resonates, as if it could be posted above my lintel. Absolutely gorgeous poem, and one I embrace with all my heart, to thin that skin between ourselves, with the world, with experience. I don't know if that's where you were headed, but that last stanza just knocks me out. Well the whole thing does.

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    1. So glad this resonated with you Ruth. And I think you grasped where I was going with it completely. Thanks much for reading, and I always love it when you enjoy what I write.

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  14. Wow...I feel like I just devoured an entire large pizza and twenty wings.....stuffed to overflowing with the things that I love! I would have to write the whole thing out if I was gonna quote the great parts, holy shit, I feel like I am not fit to scrub your floors after that. Painting is cool, but in this case I think the words outshine it by a bit. Just my opinion.

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    1. Thanks, Corey--I am awed that I come in up there with pizza and wings. It is a def odd painting--much less modern I think than Mucha's Art Nouveau stuff, and if I weren't so old I probably wouldn't dig it very much. ;-) I just like the idea that women didn't have to be skinny emaciated waifs on heroin to be considered sexy back then, maybe.

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  15. "where soul passes light to soul
    through its thinnest wall
    osmotically less to more towards
    the forever lost it seeks
    and never finds."

    This is wonderful, Joy, I love it.
    K

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  16. Oh, Hedge!! What a rich full-bodied write. Your closing is especially poignant. I really enjoyed reading this, thank you!

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  17. I kept looking at this print, never could figure out what to do with it. Now glad I did not try. You did everything with it I would not have been able to. Very good.

    and perfect musical accompaniment. ;-)

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  18. wow! this is absolutely stunning, hedge!

    "Blue night tattoos with shadow
    the nakedness shown to us alone"

    the rich colors throughout remind me of jewel-tone velvets... just want to wrap myself in some, listen to the song and read your words over and over and over...

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg