Sunday, March 04, 2007

Topic #43--"Passage" Entry

From Carla!:

16" x 16" x 1" mixed media on cradled wood panel
'Tis but hide and seek we play
In and out the courts of time.
- George William Russell (1867 - 1935)

This is the painting I am showing in an upcoming exhibit called "Word-Art," which explores the synergy between writing and the visuals arts. When I received the prospectus for the show, I immediately thought of how wonderful it would be to work with a poet whose work resonates with me in a very real and meaningful way. This poem, which inspired the painting, so beautifully explores something I think about often - "the irregular circle of life" and finding the way home.

The Irregular Circle of Life

You’d have to say the beginning
starts when you
first notice light,
squinting your eyes
strained in the first minutes to make
sense of voices and shapes
set in those bobbing circles
that want you to know,
and try to reach you from within.

From the beginning your turns are
every which way,depending
on how hard you hit the walls
and how softly you bounce off them.
The same circles and shapes protect
or abandon you during those bounces.
It makes a difference
because the hardest bounces don’t heal well
and the soft ones push you forward.

Those bounces spiral
and build upon eachother
until maybe when you are twelve
you smoke a cigarette or
sneak that candy bar in your backpack
and that’s another beginning
because you have begun
little deceptions you can call your own.

In those moments you know
but can’t describe the sweetness and light
you will revisit for all of your life.
In those moments
you decide
the shape of the circle--
the vessel really—
that will carry you home

Some of your turns
are as wide as every possible outcome
and others so narrow
you squeeze by,
your breath compacted so tightly,
that when it cannot expand
you know you just have to move
or you will be in that space forever.

The day your boundaries blur
and you find yourself drifting--
on that day another beginning
carries you to the spot where
destiny meets opportunity.
And there you are,
wondering again
who wants you to know,
and why it matters.

When you grow up,
by some standard anyway,
your circle may be closed shut
so your community and beliefs
are safe and firm.
Or by then you have had
the misfortune, if it is that,
where little point a and little point b
fail to reach each other.

When that happens
you are born again,
again noticing light,
and squinting your eyes,
straining in the first minutes to make
sense of voices and shapes
that want you to know,
that want to reach you from within.

And at that moment,
if you are lucky enough,
the irregular circle that lacks a beginning
and lacks an end
and fails to protect,
this circle that is broken —
this irregular circle--
becomes a portal for
every step you will now take,
for every mystery and
every vision
that every person
who ever loved you
will tell you
if they could
is the truest straightest way
to guide your way home.

- Karen Jasper

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