Saturday, January 5, 2013

Herpetology



Herpetology




I drew you in a dream
little lizard, whiptail,
slickfoot, drew you laboring
last night in the moonmelt,
or were you drawing me?

I looked away from
your slipping green tongue
to read a brokeback page or two
in the hymnal of change,
to mark an angle, sip

a shot of Job's comfort--
and so quick
so quick you put on
your dragon face, stood your
spikes of emerald scales

up like piano keys, made
zeppelin steampuffs for breath,
each thought a fat fly
from your eye to mine; then
you brought your friends 

to climb my spine,
turn the screw, dance a reel,
slither a toast;
I know I drew a ghost
and not eight dragons,

so perhaps it's you
who's painted me 
so sudden 
and so small.


~January 2013




posted for   real toads

Sunday Mini-Challenge: Ekphrasis
Kerry has picked the inimitable Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher for us to work from, to try to 'speak out' in words one of his works. This is a rather well-known one I've always liked, called Reptiles








Image: Reptiles, Colour, 1943, by M.C. Escher
via wikipaintings.org
All copyright belongs to the copyright holders.


21 comments:

  1. Right from the opening stanza, you just make this sound lizard-y! "whiptail, slickfoot"

    Never trust a reptile, they don't let their feelings get in the way of accomplishing what they want, because they haven't got any. We do, though, and you capture that quite neatly with your ending.

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  2. ha, some really cool lines in this...a brokeback page or two
    in the hymnal of change...nice...also like the zeppelin steampuffs...i know i drew a ghost not eight dragons...cool piece hedge..

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  3. i love the word play and switch of who is the artist after all from first to final stanza.

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  4. SO much delectable sound play throughout and the images are super vivid...you definitely capture the surrealism and lizard vibe of this Escher piece and then as if on steroids...

    "to climb my spine,
    turn the screw, dance a reel,
    slither a toast;
    I know I drew a ghost
    and not eight dragons,"

    ...you take it to a whole new awesome level.

    I love the ending, "so sudden and so small." this totally gives the reader the insight on how the narrator is feeling at this point.

    Much enjoyed, Hedge. This has always been a favored image of his for me. :)!!

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  5. I love your imagery ... thanks for a great post.
    Peace

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  6. You had me from the first word. I love this picture - the way the lizards transform into crocodiles or dragons - and you have brought it to life in a way I can feel their slick feet and sharp spines and a tingling at the spine. The fact that you used the artist as narrator is a coup for the ekphrasis part of the challenge.

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  7. This is wonderful. I have not seen the challenge, but I 'd just as soon read a poem as a poem anyway. It doesn't really need the picture. I love how it sort of speeds up in the middle as the sides interchange in a way - the narrator sipping Job's comfort (small enough indeed) and then suddenly painted in. The so sudden and so small describing lizards so very well, and the consciousness here. Really a very cool poem. k.

    PS - love the inclusion of the piano keys here with the scales - such a great reversal and the fat fly terrific.

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    1. Thanks, k. This one was pure pleasure to write.You've picked out my favorite lines, too. Hope you're feeling better.

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  8. I love the same stanza as Hannah, I just adore the dancing lizard idea

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  9. Thanks all, especially Kerry for working this one up.

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  10. The cadence of this piece, increasing in intensity and speed and then slowing down again, is as much a feature as your precise diction and thoughtful end. Here's looking at you looking at me looking at you looking at me.

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  11. I have always been intrigued by MC Escher's work. you words definitely make the image come to life.

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  12. Loved this, I just had to read it aloud as I loved its rhythm.

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  13. This is an outstanding example of ekphrastic poetry, but it's also a great poem, period. It reminds me of another Escher picture too - the one of two hands seeming to emerge from a sheet of paper, each one drawing the other. It's a cosmic question about the creative process: do I make the art or does it, in some sense, make itself, and, in doing so, make me?

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    1. Thank you Mark. Exactly. Escher has long been a favorite, and that drawing of the hands is very similar, just more drilled down to that whole concept--and I think as you say, illustrate how intertwined art and artist are, whatever the causals, in a moebius loop.

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  14. I love the final stanza, Joy. In a dream, anything goes. I love the way you described the little puff of breath coming from one of the lizards..."zeppelin steampuffs"...great stuff!
    I haven't tried this challenge yet. I'm very nervous.
    I read your previous post, too. Your talent is so obvious, I have to keep reminding myself this is a garden of friends, not a competition.
    K

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  15. Dreams can and do whatever they wish..I love it from the beginning when you questioned who was painting who. "up like piano keys, made zeppelin steampuffs for breath" I love the whole thing, but that line really stood out for me.

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  16. This is a most wondrous poem! I love it and always enjoy Escher's work as well!

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  17. i do love Escher's work and especially love the little 'dragon puffs' or, as you put is so amazingly, "zeppelin steampuffs."

    i can't help but wonder if he was rolling those Job papers when he created this! {smile}

    fabulous poem, as always, Ms Joy!

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    1. Ha! great eye, dani. This painting was very popular as a poster in the hippie era because of those Jobs--and of course, Escher's almost psychedelic optical illusion style.Thanks for reading.

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  18. I love your choices of words in this! So many great phrases! "Moonmelt" is a particular fav.

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