Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"One approaches, simply, the reality /Of the other eye" wrote Wallace Stevens, in "The Bouquet"

My husband has been writing tanka-prose, and was inspired by the same letter as I was (see 8/28/11 post) to write this new piece:

Painterly Eye(s)

The cottage with its thatched roof, made me think of a wren’s nest.
—Vincent Van Gogh

What if you were wandering through a second-hand shop in the center of the City,
and you found an old fashioned Holmes stereoscope, its lenses cloudy and the varnish
peeling from the wooden shaft. And what if there were a shoebox filled with old-
fashioned stereo photo cards that went with it, and you bought the lot and took them
home. When you looked more closely, later, you discovered that the cards were all very
odd; instead of the same windmills or smiling field laborers repeated left and right,
there were entirely different pictures on each side of every card—say, for example, a
cottage on the left and a bird’s nest on the right. When you looked through the viewer,
what might you see?

the poet sees
with both eyes wide open

the painter’s vision
travels at the speed of light

down parallel tracks

at different times

in reds and yellows
crash into flowers

Card 53-4, Underwood & Underwood—Cape Cod, Provincetown in winter, snow curling
away from the plow. Ice mounds built by the recurring sea’s surges block Dickensian
strugglers in top hats in frozen progress. On the table, the images doubled and dead as
the past.

no one alive
when the stereo camera

took this picture

remains. The cards are always
antiques, dead-bone relics

But, fit the card between the wire guides, and slide the viewer up and, then, back, and it
breathes—the snow mounds fold and threaten to tumble upon us! We can hear the top
hat struggling, puffing against the storm!

impossible! but
even movement’s not too much

you peer through the darkened hood
to Morris dancers at the end

---by Charles Tarlton

And my beginnings of the next painting in the (possible!) series:

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