Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mesh


Mesh



The hibiscus fallen
dropped from her hand,
The key falling,
falling to shadow.

The fence is down,
the door is open
on the moving stairs
ascending in circles
in a house made of knives.

Here is a woman
asleep in a chair.
Here is a woman
watching her sleep.

She has a bed no
sheets will fit
four walls a color
no paint will cover.

She has a man
no one can see
no one can be 
who holds another
as close as she.

Here is a door
no key will fit;
only its own  color
can cover it.

Here is the gleaner
whose face is a mirror
in black rags, in cages,
come for his wages.

She has  a lover
as true as the grave
whose ink never runs
who's an open page;

here is the key
falling into the lock,
the flower dropped
into her hand.


  ~June 2014













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Wednesday Challenge: Maya Deren




Susie Clevinger (Confessions of a Laundry Goddess) introduces us to the work of  Maya Deren, a gifted woman who was, as Susie puts it, "one of the most important American experimental filmmakers and entrepreneurial promoters of the avant-garde in the 1940s and 1950s." After watching her short surrealist film, Meshes of the Afternoon, I can certainly see how innovative and exceptional her work must have appeared back then. This poem is a pure ekphrasis on that film, but I make no claim to capturing its depth or meaning--simply my impressions and response.


Here is the film itself:










Images are stills taken from the film, Meshes of the Afternoon,1943, by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid. No copyright infringement is intended.





20 comments:

  1. I think you have grasped much of the mood and tension of the short film in this ekphrasis approach. Your short phrases faithfully reflect the stop start feel of a story told in snatches of images. The addition of rhyme helps to aid the notion that there may be meaning behind the inexplicable.

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  2. def has a surreal feel to it...the man no one else can see...made me wonder at her mental state a bit as if she was living in her own world...her own mind which can be as much a trap as a playground...intriguing write joy

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  3. Yes, you have captured the mood so well. It has a feeling to me of chasing death to see if it's mirrored face will show her reflection. There is a subtle, frantic feeling to the video that you have also captured in this piece. Well done! Thanks for writing for the challenge!

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  4. The mood in this is fantastic, and the short lines and rhyming are perfect for its expression. I am most struck by he woman asleep in the chair and the woman watching her sleep, and "no one can be who holds another as close as she". Wow! The bed no sheets will fit, the color no paint can cover - just fantastic! Loved it.

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  5. Hi Joy--I have not been able to watch the entire film only about half, but was struck in the parts I watched (as I am by some other films of this era) by the sheer beauty of the black and white photography, the willingness of the film-maker to linger on the play of light and dark and the wonderfully clear lines (yet ambiguity) of shadow and silhouette. I have never been all that interested in the surreal aspects--surrealism just never grabs me--but I love the texture and the quality of the filming, the movement of shapes--and the music works so very well. You have captured the same odd rhythms of the score here--the strange syncopation of the timpani that is regular, then not--and the matter-of-factness of all the imagery even in its dreamlike quality. I agree with Sherry's part re my favorite lines--the here is the woman asleep in the chair, and here is the woman watching her sleep, as that brings the writer in, the viewer, and from then on, it becomes more difficult to tell whose lover is described, whose chase, and who is held close or not. Is it that woman asleep or that woman there watching her sleep? (And whose sheets? After all the woman sleeping is in a chair? I did see that much and know they were probably her sheets, but I was also trying to read the poem separate from the movie, and I like thinking of that woman watching as the one with the sheets!) I am afraid to look back at the poem again for fear of losing this comment--but I think that dichotomy is like a shadow of the poem, or of the voice-- --there is also a feeling of mirror and open page that are rather like the screen itself--lovely sound and rhymes and ooh the foreboding that comes from living in the world sometimes. k.

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    1. Thanks, k. Yes, the B&W photography in this film is art all by itself. I'm so glad you (and Sherry) found those lines about the woman in the chair to be involving and to help with the poem--they came very close to being cut out, but in the end, I thought they had to be there. Later on in the film, there is an actual figure with a mirror for a face, so that comes as much from there as from me--though mirrors and masks--and here the mirror IS a mask--always fascinate me. The bed and sheets is all my imagination--though there is a brief shot of a bedroom and narrow bed. Anyway, thanks for your usual enthusiastic and perceptive response.

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    2. Hi Joy--I saw the figure briefly--though the mirror not so clear. It was very middle eastern, and almost painting like. I loved the eyelash shot and very thankful that they weren't slicing it! I can hardly remember it but a Bunuel film--that has an image like that. Le Chien Andelou. It is not my style really--(not saying its yours either) though the photography is so beautiful. k.

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  6. Your poem works on its own, very beautiful and I love it. But it's also such a nice compliment to the film, both in terms of ekphrasis but also because of the literary images you have invented to compliment it. The film has a poetic and musical beauty. It's like a well balanced composition that just works. You've brought that with the rhythms and repetitions of your poem, the wall and door with their own color (like a human face), the key and the flower falling into place. The film, btw, may not have a precise rational meaning, but its poetry is crystal clear like yours.

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    1. Thanks Mark--for me, the film was about trying to kill the old self so the new self can live--that is how the images spoke, for me, especially the knife and bread and 'Reaper' ones. I was only able to approach that obliquely here. Thanks so much for your generous appraisal.

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  7. She has a bed no
    sheets will fit
    four walls a color
    no paint will cover.

    This S really got me and gave me the 'feel' of the film but in a different way, the sensation is ALL you. Man! - the music of the film is perfectly pulling, purposely unsettling as a whole and V impressive imho. In agreement with Mark that your PO stands alone but then taken together, as a complete blogging experience, I am both excited and disrupted which is what I hope for, look for in art/life etc. but rarely get. Your rhythms are spot on, matching the total mood. And the poetry is fantastic because of all the things mentioned but mostly because it moved me, touched me on an emotional level beyond the rest.

    thanks Hedge, best.

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    1. Thanks, Arron. I so miss your poetry. But I'm always so pleased when you read mine and find something in it--that soundtrack is very goosefleshy, isn't it--I think her husband did it somewhat after the fact. As I said to Mark, the imagery in this is really powerful in terms of the subconscious we so seldom can articulate, and I'm very glad if you think I captured some of that here. Thanks, again.

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  8. Not sure how you merged so fully with this film but you did. It and your poem leave me wondering as to meaning but wholly absorbed. I'm transfixed by some of her shots and by some of your phrases which make me see in a different way. Remarkable.

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  9. wow....you captured it so well...............liked the mood created...........Fine!!

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  10. With your short lines and all the images that come as quickly as images on film, you've caught the feel of the film. That line about the lover "as true as the grave" is chilling and stands out, for me.

    I'm laffin at the Viking kitteh on your side bar. Did you know that Lifetime channel is going to present Grumpy Cat in "The Worst Christmas Ever" at holiday time? No joke, I just read about it!

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    1. Then Christmas may be more bearable than usual. ;_) Thanks, Shay.

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  11. Ah, the short verses give it a choppy, jerky feel just like the movie. I think this is extremely well done.

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  12. Your poem captures the film perfectly! It's interesting that my poem has a similar pacing, choppy feel to it. We must have tuned in to the same moodiness!

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  13. This does a marvelous job of capturing that caught in a loop feeling of the film. That sheets stanza is just inspired.

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  14. I'm in agreement about the way you've employed short lines, Hedge...it really does bring the flavor of that film to life. I really enjoy your closing stanza and the way you framed the piece with the flower. Excellent!

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  15. I overlooked that prompt, but am now intrigued. But it also stands alone, filled with sharp observations ~

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