For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Nouvelle 55 x 2: Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Dales: a print by LYDIA BAUMAN
I

Two sheep are
two limestone rocks
on the scraped turf.

Bottom to top:
a pink and light blue base, a bumpy field,
a wood of witches' brooms,
a clearing of shadowed light, a denser wood
in orange leaf, a steep swept slope
with single tree, sheer scar, black fell,
bare plateau, blue strips of sky.

II

A shimmered landscape.
Do Monet's ghost and Seurat's shadow
haunt this painting?

Close up
it's formal as a theory:
opaque patterns, repetitions, strata.

But stand back, see it coalesce
(Chaos becoming Gaia)
into a Yorkshire scene:

as, from impressionistic haze,
emerge wild poppies or water lilies
or, from pointilliste dots,
Asnières or La Grande Jatte.

4 comments:

Ruth said...

Quite wonderful.

I thought they were rocks!

I would like to hear you read this in the gallery where the painting hangs on the wall.

This is an especially sweet nouvelle 55 because it is your Yorkshire in the art inspiration. Knowing how that land inspires you, it is special indeed.

Don was just telling me about the origins of witches and how it was not until Christianity that they were considered bad. Of course I knew this before, but somehow it struck me especially hard, what we have lost by demonizing witches. How much herbal lore, human healing, simple and home grown remedies have we annihilated?

Friko said...

For me the best line is 'Chaos becoming Gaia'
Says it all.

The first poem IS Yorkshire, the second is an artist's idea of Yorkshire.

Elisabeth said...

Hi, I'm here via Friko's blog. My favourite line comes before the line on chaos becoming Gaia, the line that includes the notion formal as a theory.

I like the idea of patterning and how it enforces itself onto our consciousness like a theory and then if we step further back we see it all differently. Thanks.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, Ruth. The whole subject of wicca and witchcraft is quite fascinating. Many people still don't realise witchcraft can be such a force for good. We used to live next door to a white witch, incidentally.

The print in my photo hangs on our living room wall - signed by the artist herself! (Lydia Bauman has a studio not far from here.) My wife bought it for me as a get-well gift after I'd been very ill with a virus caught on a plane flying back from Venice.

Friko - yes, I liked the idea of order emerging from apparent chaos, rather like a whole picture suddenly clarifying itself out of cubist distortions, or out of expressionist dabs and smudges, or whatever, if you stand back and look hard enough.

And Elizabeth - thanks, also, for getting straight to the heart of the nouvelle.