Archive for the Poetry Category

Life, Life

Posted in Painting, Poetry with tags , on March 22, 2018 by Dylan Thomas Hayden


1

I don’t believe in omens nor fear
Forebodings. I flee from neither slander
Nor from poison. Death does not exist.
Everyone’s immortal. Everything is too.
No point in fearing death at seventeen,
Or seventy. There’s only here and now, and light;
Neither death, nor darkness, exists.
We’re all already on the seashore;
I’m one of those who’ll be hauling in the nets
When a shoal of immortality swims by.

2

If you live in a house – the house will not fall.
I’ll summon any of the centuries,
Then enter one and build a house in it.
That’s why your children and your wives
Sit with me at one table, –
The same for ancestor and grandson:
The future is being accomplished now,
If I raise my hand a little,
All five beams of light will stay with you.
Each day I used my collar bones
For shoring up the past, as though with timber,
I measured time with geodetic chains
And marched across it, as though it were the Urals.

3

I tailored the age to fit me.
We walked to the south, raising dust above the steppe;
The tall weeds fumed; the grasshopper danced,
Touching its antenna to the horse-shoes – and it prophesied,
Threatening me with destruction, like a monk.
I strapped my fate to the saddle;
And even now, in these coming times,
I stand up in the stirrups like a child.

I’m satisfied with deathlessness,
For my blood to flow from age to age.
Yet for a corner whose warmth I could rely on
I’d willingly have given all my life,
Whenever her flying needle
Tugged me, like a thread, around the globe.

Text: Poem by Arseny Tarkovsky, source unknown
Image: Jan Brueghel the Younger, Dorfgracht mit landungssteg und ziehbrunnen, oil on copper, private collection
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The Sorceress left too soon…

Posted in Art, Poetry, Surrealism with tags , , on December 16, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Remedios Varo with husband Benjamin Péret and André Breton.
Breton saluted Varo’s early death with the words above.

In the Beginning

Posted in Photo, Poetry with tags , on October 27, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden


In the beginning was the three-pointed star,
One smile of light across the empty face,
One bough of bone across the rooting air,
The substance forked that marrowed the first sun,
And, burning ciphers on the round of space,
Heaven and hell mixed as they spun.

In the beginning was the pale signature,
Three-syllabled and starry as the smile,
And after came the imprints on the water,
Stamp of the minted face upon the moon;
The blood that touched the crosstree and the grail
Touched the first cloud and left a sign.

In the beginning was the mounting fire
That set alight the weathers from a spark,
A three-eyed, red-eyed spark, blunt as a flower,
Life rose and spouted from the rolling seas,
Burst in the roots, pumped from the earth and rock
The secret oils that drive the grass.

In the beginning was the word, the word
That from the solid bases of the light
Abstracted all the letters of the void;
And from the cloudy bases of the breath
The word flowed up, translating to the heart
First characters of birth and death.

In the beginning was the secret brain.
The brain was celled and soldered in the thought
Before the pitch was forking to a sun;
Before the veins were shaking in their sieve,
Blood shot and scattered to the winds of light
The ribbed original of love.

Photo by Lee Miller
Poem by Dylan Thomas

Indolence

Posted in Painting, Poetry with tags , on October 24, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

guardi-cappricio
We left the city when the summer day
Had verged already on its hot decline,
And charmed Indolence in languor lay
In her gay gardens, ’neath her towers divine:
’Farewell,’ we said, ’dear city of youth and dream!’
And in our boat we stepped and took the stream.

All through that idle afternoon we strayed
Upon our proposed travel well begun,
As loitering by the woodland’s dreamy shade,
Past shallow islets floating in the sun,
Or searching down the banks for rarer flowers
We lingered out the pleasurable hours.

Till when that loveliest came, which mowers home
Turns from their longest labour, as we steered
Along a straitened channel flecked with foam,
We lost our landscape wide, and slowly neared
An ancient bridge, that like a blind wall lay
Low on its buried vaults to block the way.

Then soon the narrow tunnels broader showed,
Where with its arches three it sucked the mass
Of water, that in swirl thereunder flowed,
Or stood piled at the piers waiting to pass;
And pulling for the middle span, we drew
The tender blades aboard and floated through.

But past the bridge what change we found below!
The stream, that all day long had laughed and played
Betwixt the happy shires, ran dark and slow,
And with its easy flood no murmur made:
And weeds spread on its surface, and about
The stagnant margin reared their stout heads out.

Upon the left high elms, with giant wood
Skirting the water-meadows, interwove
Their slumbrous crowns, o’ershadowing where they stood
The floor and heavy pillars of the grove:
And in the shade, through reeds and sedges dank,
A footpath led along the moated bank.

Across, all down the right, an old brick wall,
Above and o’er the channel, red did lean;
Here buttressed up, and bulging there to fall,
Tufted with grass and plants and lichen green;
And crumbling to the flood, which at its base
Slid gently nor disturbed its mirrored face.

Sheer on the wall the houses rose, their backs
All windowless, neglected and awry,
With tottering coins, and crooked chimney stacks;
And here and there an unused door, set high
Above the fragments of its mouldering stair,
With rail and broken step led out on air.

Beyond, deserted wharfs and vacant sheds,
With empty boats and barges moored along,
And rafts half-sunken, fringed with weedy shreds,
And sodden beams, once soaked to season strong.
No sight of man, nor sight of life, no stroke,
No voice the somnolence and silence broke.

Then I who rowed leant on my oar, whose drip
Fell without sparkle, and I rowed no more;
And he that steered moved neither hand nor lip,
But turned his wondering eye from shore to shore;
And our trim boat let her swift motion die,
Between the dim reflections floating by.

Text: Robert Bridges, Poetical Works, Volume II. London: Smith, Elder & Co, 1899
Image: Francesco Guardi, Paesaggio fantastico, oil on canvas, c. 1765, Metropolitan Museum

Eternal Greece

Posted in Greece, Greek Myth, Painting, Poetry with tags , on July 27, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

titian-christ

Our land is the land of immortal spirits and idols
Apollo, full of joy and supreme, is our god.

Christ crucified, lying in his white winding-sheet,
is beautiful Adonis covered with roses.

The soul of ancient Greece lives hidden unwillingly within us.
Great Pan is not dead, no, great Pan does not die!

Text: Kostis Palamas, Iamboi kai Anapaistoi. Athens, 1920
Image: Titian, Il Cristo risuscitato, c. 1511

The Silver Age

Posted in Greek Myth, Painting, Poetry with tags , on July 19, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Corot, Sodom

The second age came after,
and it was much worse.
This silver age of men was made by the immortals
who have palaces on Olympus.
Neither in body nor mind
did they resemble the golden age.
For one hundred years,
each child stayed with its mother.
For one hundred years, she had to raise it,
fussing over it at home, a big dumb child.
Then when it passed puberty,
that measure of youthful prime,
it didn’t live much longer.
Sufferings were brought on
because of their deeply ingrained,
habitually adolescent stupidity. Reckless violence
could not be restrained between them.
As for service to the immortals,
they were unwilling to give it.
They offered no sacrifice on the altars of the blessed.
But sacred law decrees that humans offer sacrifice,
as is our custom. Therefore Zeus,
the son of Cronus, in a just anger, made them disappear.
They refused to give honors
to the blessed gods who hold Olympus.
And for that reason they had to die.

Text: Hesiod, Theogony/Works and Days, translated by C. S. Morrissey. Vancouver: Talon Books, 2012
Image: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, L’incendie de Sodome, oil on canvas, 1843 and 1857, Metropolitan Museum

Man in the stream…

Posted in Painting, Poetry with tags , on July 17, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Poussin_Landscape_with_Saint_John_on_Patmos

Man in the stream of his mysterious life
Has left to his descendants patterns various and worthy of his
immortal origin
As he has also left traces of the ruins of daybreak,
snowdrifts of heavenly reptiles, paper eagles, diamonds and
the glances of hyacinths
In the midst of sighs, of tears, of hunger, of lamentations
and of the ash of wells under the earth.

Text: Nikos Gatsos, Amorgos, translated by Sally Purcell. London: Anvil Press, 2006
Image: Nicolas Poussin, Paysage avec Saint Jean à Patmos, oil on canvas, 1660, Art Institute of Chicago