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  #1  
Unread 10-06-2021, 07:52 PM
Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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Default the fate of the animals

"Fate of the Animals (1913)"

All being is flame..."

You said Tree
open your ring.
Animal, your vein.
Did the yellow line, throat-high,
pass through unhindered?
Or does it encircle,
leash into the ashtone
born of fire and the longing to resemble.
Deer in my middle arching up in search
of the woman’s flowered hand
one day we will follow the cast off
feathers of Klee’s Aging Phoenix
out of the wasted places
and back into the Blue.


"Fate of the Animals (1913)"

All being is flame..."

Tree, open your ring.
Animal, your vein.
Does the yellow line, throat-high,
pass through unhindered?
Or does it encircle,
leash into the ashtone
born of fire and the longing to resemble.
Deer in my middle arching up in search
of the woman’s flowered hand
one day we will follow the cast off
feathers of Klee’s Aging Phoenix
out of the wasted places
and back into the Blue.


Epi was "All being is flaming agony." Franz Marc




The Fate of the Animals

“All being is flame…” Franz Marc

Tree, show your ring.
Animal, your vein.
Does the yellow line, throat-high,
pass through unhindered?
Or does it encircle,
leash into the ashtone
born of fire and the longing to resemble.
Deer in my middle arching up in search
of the woman’s flowered hand
one day we will follow the cast off
feathers of Klee’s Aging Phoenix
out of the wasted places
and back into the Blue.


The Fate of the Animals

“All being is flame…” Franz Marc

Tree, show your ring.
Animal, your vein
as the yellow line, throat-high
passes through unhindered.
Or does it encircle you,
leash into the ashtone
born of fire and the longing to resemble.
Deer in my middle arching up in search
of the woman’s flowered hand
one day we will follow the cast off
feathers of Klee’s Aging Phoenix
out of the wasted places
and back into the Blue.

Last edited by Andrew Mandelbaum; 10-25-2021 at 08:01 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 10-08-2021, 08:25 AM
Seree Zohar's Avatar
Seree Zohar Seree Zohar is offline
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Andrew,

Firstly, let’s start with the end: the final 2 lines are excellent. L8-9 – excellent images, but then I wonder: do we need a comma after ‘hand’ to help bridge the move to the next line?

Circling back to the start: the positioning of commas is causing me to stumble in Ls 2-3. Or perhaps, ‘passes’. In any event, I've gone back over that small section multiple times and am still uncertain. I wonder why ‘it’ in L4 rather than ‘they’, especially when you’ve begun with the ring in L1. So I wonder: is the ring an emblem of marriage, perhaps? When the tree is on fire, the fire encircles.

Then ‘leash’ and especially, ‘leash into’ has me puzzled: should that have been ‘leach’? ‘Leach into the ashtone’ I could certainly get on board with. But then, ‘the longing to resemble’ – and again, I start from the beginning, searching for a clue: to resemble what? or, conversely, what is it that wants to resemble something else? add-in: but if perhaps the concept is of leash as in encircle, maybe 'leash through'... rather than 'into'? I could buy 'through'.

Clearly I'm not your ideal reader because, while I get a sense of a wonderful message hidden there, it’s too hidden for me to grasp and I feel unable to delight in its discovery.

Last edited by Seree Zohar; 10-08-2021 at 08:44 AM.
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  #3  
Unread 10-09-2021, 07:56 AM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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To me, leash seems the right word here. As I read the poem, the circle of corporeal being is a leash of some sort, a containing circle, the limit of concerete replication, of the "longing to resemble" (which a slight sleight-of-eye can make "the longing to reassemble"). To be leashed is perhaps a consequence of rising or falling into form. Though the poem does not necessarily present this as something negative, the poem is only asking questions of both beings and Being. The culminating question is: do we pass through the ring that momentarily contains us, the ring of fire from which we ultimately issue forth, phoenix-like, back into the the blue, the ravishingly formless emptiness? It seems to be all one movement, birth-being-death, one gesture of the universe, and the metaphor of flame captures all of its facets of light and dark.

And then there are the mysterious images of the deer in my middle and the woman's flowered hand which deepen the mystery of the concrete, and add an animal warmth to even infinity.

I think the poem's brevity, Andrew, is important. Often your poems are so dense that it is difficult to give them, as a whole, the attention that every few lines deserves. This one can be studied, read aloud, chanted and re-chanted, until its secrets are unveiled in the life-blood-line and the death-breath-circle.

Nemo
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  #4  
Unread 10-09-2021, 09:18 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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I certainly agree with Nemo about the brevity. The short poem makes what you do change from a sort of loping into thickness into a more seizable poem without diminishing anything. Condensing is always good to me, though, so factor that in. This poem certainly presents a challenge and I appreciate that. I disagree with Nemo a little about the last two lines vs. the opening four lines. The commands to the tree and animal are startling, which is the kind of start I'd want. I'm still wondering about the yellow line, though, and this leads into my central question/critique of the poem. Or perhaps I should say it leads to my confusion. I know the Klee work mentioned. It is an etching, so I assume the "yellow line" does not refer to it. Generally, I think referencing the Klee, particularly by name, creates certain ekphrastic expectations, but the imagery doesn't follow. The Klee seems to be brought in to set up the end. For me, unless I'm missing something, that is confusing in a shorter poem. Finally, the "wasted places" and "into the Blue" close remind me of 70s rock music a bit. I'd consider something more precise, less familiar there. That being said, it's a very interesting and musical poem. I'm not looking for more hand-holding, I like poems that leave so much up to me, I'm only wondering if it'd do that job better with the changes I suggested--or not. I am capable of being wrong. I've enjoyed reading and thinking of this one.--John
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  #5  
Unread 10-09-2021, 11:28 AM
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RCL RCL is offline
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I'm seeing the yellow line as that of the common garter snake's back. More later possibly.
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  #6  
Unread 10-09-2021, 08:38 PM
Cally Conan-Davies Cally Conan-Davies is offline
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I'm seeing the "yellow line" as the yellow part of flame, the next to hottest part. I'm getting an imperative to open up to this 'emergent-cy'—in "throat-high" I really feel it, viscerally.

I see 'leash' like a lasso—a circle, an enclosure, that holds something to something. These lines remind me of Jung's thoughts about the 'box life' which he longed to be free of. The life force blazes unhindered through the living world, a perpetual flame, but humans—who see themselves apart from animal nature— feel contained/constrained, and subsist in the ash of the fire. Something—fear?—stops us from living the pure flame that we are. We want to 'resemble' what we're actually formed from, what 'informs' us. Irony! I like Nemo's reading of 'reassemble', too.

"Deer in my middle" is a favourite phrase... I keep saying it...

I sense a 'marriage' in the joining of hands...symbolic, metaphoric, real—a 're-sembling'.

I do see what John means about the Klee appearing suddenly, and setting up a kind of expectation. I did google it, and loved the image, and loved reading the poem alongside the image. Interesting to ponder—whether the poem needs mention of the Klee image, whether you could make an image of your own there, or whether to let this be an ekphrastic from the outset, even as title of the poem: 'On Klee's Aging Phoenix', removing the current epigram—just ponderings!

And yes, while I love "the Blue", it's always worth playing with alternatives, even if (especially if) they bring you back to Blue . . .

It's a Fire Sermon, my seabird!

Cally
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  #7  
Unread 10-10-2021, 07:07 AM
Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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Hello All.

I wrote this after spending a sleepless night with two paintings, Klee's Aging Pheonix and Franz Marc's The Fate of the Animals. I thought the latter was more well known than it is. I shouldn't be surprised because the story of the Marc painting was new to me that night. Franz died in the trenches of WW1 but among his work before being killed were a fair few amazing pieces exploring the animal. The problematic yellow line is from The Fate of the Animals which was damaged in a fire and restored by Klee after Marc's death. Klee recreated the damaged section from old photos of the work but chose to do so in ashtone, a contrast to the primary colors of the original. Franz Marc's theory on color and meaning make that choice even more emphatic. Here is an axcellent article by Popova that also shows the image:

https://www.brainpickings.org/2021/09/08/franz-marc/

Seree, I don't have a problem adding that comma after hand and will do so.
There is an implied show command in line 2. Tree show your ring. Animal show your vein. The it in line 5 is bound to that troublesome yellow line from the painting. I was interested to see how the piece would come across without the presence of the images. Looks like it needs them there to come clean.

Nemo, I am always humbled by the bits of soul experience you are ble to find in the wreckage of the event that is the poem. You have a knack for finding the black box that records the last transmissions during the creation of the piece. Point taken on the brevity. I have few longer pieces that intuitively I knew were trouble. I will see if revising into compact bits does the trick.

Both John and Cally underline their sense of the missing image. I need to think of way to put Franz Marc's The Fate of the Animals into the text in the same way that Klee's work is hung on the wall. As for the blue, I think I need it in light of Marc's horses and color theory as well as the weird way I finished the night just staring into a photo of Rothko's Blue, Green and Brown still thinking about the Klee/Marc bond in that deer which is so much also a part of my own messing around.

Ralph, sorry to send you also guessing without the image.

Despite the problem I created without both paintings present before the readers, it was still encouraging to see much of the intent surface in the reads. Even the little bits like the fact that resemble and reassemble were both in that spot at one point.
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  #8  
Unread 10-10-2021, 07:52 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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.
Hey Andrew, Your Klee reference is what opened this up for me — though I'm still not sure what the imagery represents. That's the problem I have with it: the imagery itself doesn't connect in the way I relate to nature, but I'm eager to see your vision because I've always been intrigued by your perspective on it.

I am pondering the punctuation and line breaks and wondering if you would consider re-working them to allow a smoother, wider opening into what your vision is. As of now, I am hanging onto the Klee's Aging Phoenix and can't decipher what your poem is saying about it. I have. no specific suggestions as to what punctuation and line breaks would open this up for me, but Seree had some good thoughts...

But it's all there. I can feel it. There is eternity in it.


---

Editing back in to say perhaps you should loosen your grip on the Klee and Marc image and let your imagination fly.

Btw, Brainpickings is my favorite online reading material.

.

.

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 10-11-2021 at 06:07 PM.
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  #9  
Unread 10-14-2021, 07:55 AM
Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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Minor revision posted.

Hey Jim. What the imagery represents for me or for you? Or for Klee and Marc? It is ok if this alphabet isn't a word for you. I find that experience in tons of poems that I recognize as meaningful art but just not my trip. I did rework it a bit but the Klee and the Marc are at the heart of the piece for me. If I let them go not enough remains to make it worth it.
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  #10  
Unread 10-14-2021, 11:08 AM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Hey, Andrew!

I didn't know anything about Franz Marc--not even the fact that he was an artist. Since I didn't make the connection between the title and an artwork, so I took the phrase at face value and didn't Google it. Other art-ignorant readers will probably be in the same boat with me.

On looking up the painting after your comments, I recognized the deer and the throat-high yellow "leash" from the poem. I think you need to provide a more obvious clue for the clueless, such as retitling the poem "Fate of the Animals (1913)," followed by the Franz Marc epigraph.

I did look up the Klee etching--the English title of which seems to be Aged Phoenix rather than Aging Phoenix. Of course that is a translation, and I like the dynamism of the latter phrase. Just thought I'd mention it. There's no need to "fix" it in the poem, since people who look it up online end will up at the more commonly-used title. (You might encounter an editor who takes the liberty of "fixing" it for you, though.)
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