Further thoughts on the cultural labor of poetry and art. Not merely "is it good?," but "what has it accomplished?"...reviews of recent poetry collections; selected poems and art dealing with war/peace/social change; reviews of poetry readings; links to political commentary (particularly on conflicts in the Middle East); youtubed performances of music, demos, and other audio-video nuggets dealing with peaceful change, dissent and resistance.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Sand Opera Lenten Journey Day 37: Etruscan Cista Handle
Opera Lenten Journey Day 37: Etruscan Cista Handle
I spent part of
the morning listening to Woody Guthrie songs with my daughter Leila, who spied
a poster of him in my office. We listened to “Pretty Boy Floyd,” the Dylan
cover, which tells the story of a generous Robin Hood outlaw. My favorite lines
end the song:
through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.
Today’s poem is
inspired by one of my favorite pieces in the Cleveland Museum of Art, the
handle of a cista from the Etruscan period, a small box or casket that often
contained something precious.
Cista Handle (from Sand Opera)
How peaceful he
looks, the gates of his face
now shut for
good, facing the ground. His body’s
horizontal, his arms embrace
the air, his
penis a slack finger of gravity.
soldier-angels must stoop, stagger
to cradle his
naked inhuman weight.
torqued, as if listening to the lead
of the body,
they bear it in bent tender shoulders,
in the balked
leaning and strain of their gait,
against falling. Their maker is dead.
And still the
war continues, though it takes
other names. Sarpedon
bronzed not breathing, the angels
stumbling, all burned into a single handle.
To open the
jewelry box, you have to grasp the corpse.