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Posts Tagged ‘Art’

Little Apocalypse, a poem

August 11, 2017 2 comments

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RT has been uncharacteristically silent these past few months as various matters tangential to his writing but nonetheless important (for instance, his health) have continued to preoccupy him. The good news is that he has made significant progress on tablets 5 and 6 of Gilgamesh, hoping to finish the poem by fall. He has even at odd moments set down a brief poem.

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This particular piece was inspired by Peregrine, the recently (and first) published collection of fellow scribbler, Tom Donlon. Tom’s impeccable craftsmanship and domestic themes have won RT’s admiration, especially since his poems have a way of opening out on broader perspectives.  Sadly, Peregrine (Franciscan University of Steubenville) is not commercially available, but the poem that sparked this piece, “Tsunami” is available in the collection, ONLY THE SEA KEEPS: Poetry of the Tsunami (Bayeux Arts, 2005, available on Amazon). 

A fine poet and a fine collection. Here is RT’s response:

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little
apocalypse

(for Tom Donlon)

the voice of the day proceeds carefully

through the clouds, the

ritual of its trajectory a carpenter’s pencil

sketching out the pilot in his craft, the

child tottering through its first step, the

ballet lessons and headless Barbies. 

the

stillness of sermon, like sitting in traffic 

on route 9, tsunami of grace overwhelming 

the driver, pushing aside everything else, 

leaving 

only the fact of its words shining in the long

silence, to be approached on knee over 

snow, rough tezontle stone,

tearing postulant flesh—almost as 

if with obsidian knife, the truth pouring out—

as once before jadeite gods opulent

in the carven glyph, now overturned

in the high, thin air glinting with dust.

Malinalli
, our lady of waving grass, 

Marina, one of the native gift to Cortés;

the horse rearing muscular like an angel,

panicked eye, flaring nostril—

Calmese! the ships are burning.
 

Copyright, Eric Quinn, 2017

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Drawing: Cortes and Mallinali meet Mocteczuma II, November 9, 1519. Unknown Aztec artist. Public Domain. 

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Amulet–A Poem

November 26, 2016 1 comment

File:Roman - Amulet of Mithras Slaying the Bull, and the God Abraxas - Walters 42868 - Reverse.jpg

Poems have a shaggy-dog quality; RT never knows just what may show up at his front door next. This particular inspiration began to emerge shortly after a manuscript discussion group featuring some old poetry buddies, a situation well-known among scribblers to produce new work. And it’s been a while since any critter, however shaggy, has come to RT’s attention. And so, with a brief nod of thanks to the muse:

Amulet

*****It’s always 2 o’clock.

You told the lady a lie,

shed the skin of indifference.

The moment will not end,

hissing, sliding, ash ragged in

the air. The cherub is gone.

 

It’s still 2 o’clock, damn them.

They’ve taken your feet, your arms,

your teeth rotten with venom.

*****So what about the fruit?

*****Of course they wanted a bite, naked

down in the hollow of truth.

 

3 o’clock and

the cherub, head smashed, lies

half-buried in sand. The ones that burn say:

How could you? You blink. Those are

your teeth sown in the ground, your words

*****winding across the page.

 

Photo: Amulet of Mithras Slaying the Bull and the God Abraxas (Walters 42868). 3rd century. Walters Museum of Art. WikiCmns; CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0.

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Kameda Bosai, Old Trees

September 7, 2016 2 comments

Confucian Poem LACMA M.91.22.jpg

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RT has been resolutely ignoring his creative impulses (such as they were) in the face of the many tasks (not the least of which is grieving) that have followed on his mother’s death. Resolutely ignoring, that is, until a spontaneous visit to his local bookstore brought him face-to-face with an alluring poem by Kameda Bosai, a Japanese poet (or rather, scholar and literati painter) that RT had never heard of before. Well, the temptation proved too much for the sterner angels of RT’s nature, and he offers the results of his latest foray into translation below. He knows that mom would approve.

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old trees crimson at spring’s glance;

waterfalls icy, smash and echo.

imagine a mountain hermit swaying,

collapsing into laughter. water-stars, wind.

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(Dedicated to Andy and Janet)

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Image: Confucian Poem, Kameda Bosai. circa 1820-1824. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. WikiCmns. Public Domain.

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Sifaka!

An upright Coquerel's sifaka hops sideways with its arms at chest height.

In the midst of a serious life transition, RT takes time out for a bit of beautiful whimsy from Madagascar

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Photo: Sifakas are especially adapted to… Neal Strickland. WikiCmns. CC BY 2.0.

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Du Fu, Take 2

April 8, 2016 4 comments

This poem, by Du Fu, China’s greatest poet, continues to haunt RT. The version below isn’t his first attempt at bringing the poem over into English, and certainly the poem’s reputation (its opening lines are generally considered to be the greatest ever written in Chinese poetry) has something to do with his interest. Or it may simply be that the poem is being given to RT slowly, line by line. An improvement over his previous attempt? RT will let his readers judge …

Spring Thoughts

 

The Great Palace lies in ruins;

mountains reflect, rivers pass on.

In cities, weeds like silk pile up,

and rain slaps the flower’s cheek.

But enough of this!

Birdsong astonishes my heart.

 

Three months have passed

and still the beacon fires burn.

I’d pay pure gold for a letter.

Raking my head, exasperated,

I pull loose my scholar’s knot.

The hairpin dangles.

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PaintingEmperor Xuanzong of Tang fleeing to Sichuan province from Chang’an; painter unknown. 11th century. WikiCmns. Public Domain.

Gilgamesh–the Prologue on YouTube

January 1, 2016 Leave a comment

439px-Nimrod_grabado--WikiPD

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2015 was full of distractions and challenges for RT, which has kept him from opining in these pages for some time. Major life changes confront him, but this is how things happen. At heart, though, he remains a writer and feels the call of his several projects, not least of which is The Rag Tree. His mother’s memoir, A Daughter’s Song and Dance, is finished, but RT can only say that its publication is as imminent as anything else in his life right now.

The memoir is not the only project that RT has completed but been unable to share with the public. At the end of 2014, he finished a video that features an audio file of him reading his prologue to Gilgamesh, accompanied by various illustrations from the internet. He uploaded the video onto YouTube, hoping to attract more attention to his translation. Then things got complicated.

Things are now somewhat less complicated, and RT is posting a link to the video below. Eventually, he would like to put all of the translation up on YouTube. In the meantime, he hopes that the current offering will propitiate the god of complications and entertain his readers.

Happy New Year, and here’s to a wonderful 2016!   RT

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Image: Grabado de Nimrod. WikiCmns. Public Domain.

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The Fire In Your Hearts

October 1, 2015 2 comments

RT has been struggling with some problems, not least of them an invasion of the local bug population… running through all the distractions like Ariadne’s thread has been the work on his mother’s memoirs. A Daughter’s Song and Dance is now at the proofing stage, and RT hopes to have the first bound copies in the next week or two. Then it’s publication on Lulu and fundraising for a larger paper run to distribute in bookstores nearby.

Here is one of RT’s reconstruction based on material in the Gospel of Thomas… he hopes it will lift the reader’s spirit, as it has lifted RT’s:

Saying 3. Jesus said, “Do not listen to those you have trusted. If they tell you, ‘Look, the Kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds will get there before you do. If they say, “Hey, the Kingdom is in the ocean,’ then the fish will swim into it first. And if they say, ‘The Kingdom is in the earth,’ the dead will get there before you. But I tell you that the Kingdom is the fire in your hearts, so that you may precede all others.

© 2013, The Rag Tree

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Photo: burning match. Heidas. WikiCmns. CC BY-SA 3.0.