Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Poetry, Art & Music

I think of myself as a prose writer. I wrote the occasional poem as a younger person, for school assignments, but it has never been my primary language. Yet I love - and I mean LOVE, memorize and sing - song lyrics of every genre, which of course are poems. And my senior project (for college graduation) incorporated a famous poem.
We were assigned a self-portrait as part of our graduation requirement. This came after I discovered that my fiance had been unfaithful; I had broken our engagement, was facing an unclear future and did not really know how to see myself. In addition, I had not gained great facility with watercolor painting (the favored medium in the art department at that time), so I had not the means to render an accurate self-portrait - but I used it anyway, which says something right there.

I decided upon an abstract composition; then, feeling it was raw and incomplete (which was in fact an accurate portrayal of my self-image at the time), I incorporated a photograph and a roughly hand-lettered fragment of a poem, because it is what came to me. It was not considered a great success by my professor, but it expressed my feelings at the time; even then, as a 21-year old fine art major, I could not suppress the urge to use language in my artwork. So perhaps there is more poetry in my soul than I know - perhaps there is in each one of us - expressed in a variety of ways, not always recognized outright as poetry.

I wrote a poem about the beach when I was a little girl. I remember - and can still see in my mind's eye - the exact place I pictured as I wrote it. I showed the poem to my grandmother, and was happily surprised to find later that she kept it in a drawer in her bedside table. I wish I knew where it was now.

Poetry has been on my mind lately for several reasons. Friends read, write and share poetry; poems appear on blogs and various other places online. I follow a caringbridge site which has exposed me to a wealth of absolutely gorgeous poetry, with which patient and family express their feelings at the end of each update. As a Core Team member of Field's End Writers' Community, poetry has come to my attention as a deep need in the community. Though perhaps not freely acknowledged in mainstream consciousness, poetry is all around us; it's a natural language of the human spirit. We seek poetry to express what may be unutterable in any other form, in our own words or those of others; this makes us feel less alone. Sometimes, these poems are set to music.

This beautiful fusion of music and poetry has been playing in my head for several days. It says a great deal to me about stopping, seeing, feeling, listening, hearing, speaking, silence and being. I hope you will enjoy it. (Video credit: YouTube)


Elizabeth said...

If I just lay here --

I love that song, and this post is sublime. Thank you, Karen.

Daisy said...

Hey there, Karen. Love your portrait especially in the context of the time in which it was created.

Also enjoyed that video especially in this context of getting ready to head out to work early this a.m.

Thank you for both and hoping all is well with you.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I think your self portrait is beautiful; so interesting to look back and see where you were in that timeframe.
I'm not a writer; not close to being a poet either. I DO appreciate people (you) who are gifted at expressing themselves in the written word.
That song is beautiful; I've loved it since the first time I heard it.