from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Thursday, 11 February 2016

prose poems from guest contributors: 4 Jean Morris


(Sonia Delaunay at Tate Modern, 2015)

At the Bal Bullier figures tango with abstraction, shape and colour move in time as well as space: the spinning depth, the opening in form and light that Sonia Delaunay captures. It feels like yesterday, her work as compelling as all those years ago. Simultané ('simultaneous') was a word she loved. Nineteen eighty-three? or eighty-four was it? a survey of Post-Impressionism? Mostly I remember the three of us, you and me and the woman you were with now. I wore a red tee-shirt to hide the blood seeping from my heart. Remember our dance around one another, around the paintings, among the colours, the blood red, the jealous green, the wide blue skies of our comparative youth? Colour is the skin of the world, she said. Swirling colours and our swirling three-step, towards and away and away. We three were a luridly coloured eternal triangle with wavering edges and sharp points, but we talked only in twos. With you the happiness of looking at painted light, an exhilaration we’d long shared and could still share, but would not be sharing ever again. With her the outcry we shared at once: why was Sonia less famous than her husband? why? Light and colour, she said, are confounded. And when her multi-colours coalesced in concentric circles did the repeated colour wheels, Catherine wheels, swirl and spark into a suggestion of violence? Target practice? My red tee-shirt hid the blood after I cornered her in the Ladies and stuck her with my sharp point. Did I even notice the fragility of her lines, which I now find as startling as the force of her shapes and colours? Le Serpent noir is a late work and today for Sonia I’m wearing not red but black. Long life, long love slips around me like a silk scarf. The black snake dances to the music of time.

© Jean Morris

Jean Morris is an editor and translator who recently found herself, lateish in life, translating poetry and then one day writing her own, often in response to visual art. She sometimes contributes to the group poetry blog Via Negativa (this prose poem is one of those contributions)

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