Thanks to Bikurgurl for hosting last week’s #100WordWednesday flashfiction prompt. Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is “to write a poem of ekphrasis — that is, a poem inspired by a work of art.” The A to Z Challenge GoodRead’s Prompt begins with the letter U.
“To write is to forget. Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life. Music soothes, the visual arts exhilarates, the performing arts (such as acting and dance) entertain. Literature, however, retreats from life by turning in into slumber. The other arts make no such retreat— some because they use visible and hence vital formulas, others because they live from human life itself.
― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet”
(Sorry finding a Q name for this piece impossible but there is Q in Disquiet!)
The photograph is lovely at first,
A brilliant blue sky, soft winds of cool breezes,
The Atlantic still icy, but forgiving.
Trees rise and guard the home, the lighthouse,
Ancient ones in slumber as spring yet approaches.
Rock walls prevent a fall below, to the unforgiving chill.
Hypothermia comes quickly here,
But the scenery makes up for the inherent danger.
Bright pink of the house stands out and the tower above matches,
Glows in the night when the boats pass by,
Protecting and guiding ships.
The long grass still waiting to be verdent,
Not dry crumpled straw.
And the owners of the house are silent, keeping to themselves,
Their only sense of existing, is the light that glares, when outside the tower is dark.
Spring is slowly birthing, but the ocean’s still freezing,
And the danger is too real for ships too close.
And a stranger walking watches from the dim,
Holding back a dog barking in madness.
The bulb has burnt out, now disaster is unhinged,
The ship clips the cliff, the house crumbles and the ship sinks,
Screams in the night, in the Atlantic’ waters cold numbness.
And when all is said and done, only the lighthouse stands,
With a burnt out bulb of fault.
How can this photograph be a work of art?
Is there art in dying?
Or is art and death as a perception, to ambigious to be real?
Grandfather, your pearl is tarnished, crystallized and shattered.
Do you hear her heart beating, the wings of doves fluttering gone soft.
Her heart is the beat of a techno dance song – hard staccato rhythm to drum with the throngs.
Grandfather, the things they’ve come out with in this world.
Maybe your heart would still be thrumming, but you were ready to go home.
There’s technology so thin and advanced, books we read without feeling the weight of rough paper.
The special effects in movies are more real, and the stories so enthralling.
But I don’t know if the stories compare to Clarence Day’s or Harper Lee’s novels.
I don’t know if there’s a Paul Newman or Audrey Hepburn hiding in the cinema today.
But Grandfather, I know you would say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
There’s nothing new under Heaven and people make the same mistakes.
In Iraq, in Syria, in Afghanistan — so many places enraptured in war again.
And you’d be in shock just to hear that they want to take God out of ‘ Oh Canada.’
Grandfather, this world is still in ruin like the morning you left it.
And Grandpa I’m in ruin, it’s best for you to know.
Your eldest Grandchild an adult several years became ill, and she’s still fighting a sickness she’ll never win.
Medicine is slow, and the ache of a long tired wretched day felt all the more keenly under illness and you would know.
Grandfather, I guess, you don’t feel a thing.
Because down here we feel pain and up there, there is no such word or feeling.
It’s quite a concept just not to know suffering as innocent as Frost’s lamb.
Knowledge came at such a price Grandpa, Eve and Adam, had little clue what they unleashed upon a world.
All this for an apple or a pomegranate.
Juice pouring down our faces as we each share in the deed.
Spitting seeds out as we munch, the greatest flavour, for a wily wretched bunch.
Grandfather, do you hear my prayers, or do they only ascend to God?
Because I talk to you quite often and wonder if you know us down here?
Is there such a thing as memory in Heaven, or will you not know me until you see me on your plane of existence?
Do you remember tractor rides, gardens, apples, raspberries, hot summer sun, and VBS.
Do you think of left over wedding mints, a pulpit, a large pipe organ, all your sisters and brothers, do you remember where the good goes?
We’re looking for it down here, and I wonder if you could spare us just a little to melt away the density of snow the crowds around our hearts when it’s blowing, snowing, cold?
What do you see when you look down here or do you only experience the present?
Do you know how pearls catch the light in glory, and crack under pressure?
Have you seen those who have come and gone, and forgotten those who have fallen?
What have you seen in your gaze, do you see beyond the eternal realm, touch the sun and stars and everything that ever was, do you know the answer?
We flounder in existence, do you remember you did too, and still another winter comes and I cannot see any wisdom past the ground I walk on.
Grandfather, what you see someday I may know, but now I’m barely energized and wishing hard for sleep.
I cannot find a moment to rest, I wonder if I truly slumber, and I wonder about eternity, a time when time becomes timeless.