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  #1  
Unread 05-14-2020, 06:24 PM
Rob Wright Rob Wright is offline
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Default Illumination

Illumination

The painter, having watched the smith tap down
a bar of gold, now sees him lift a leaf,
and blow it quivering onto a woman’s gown
around a body caged in filigree.

One breast is out, and rounded like a pear.
The holy infant’s fat and sucks with lust.
And nothing that is painted here prepares
the viewer for betrayals and hopes lost.

In the distance there’s a gypsy with a bear,
an execution on a wheel, a crane
along a busy harbor, and a cart

of jolly peasant children, unaware
that they are caught – both holy and profane –
inside a world laid flat by faith and art.

Last edited by Rob Wright; 05-17-2020 at 07:57 AM. Reason: comma added on line 5, and a the word betrayal added on line 8
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  #2  
Unread 05-15-2020, 10:21 AM
Kurt Rasmussen Kurt Rasmussen is offline
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I think this is very excellent. The rhymes (both near and full) all work well, no awkwardness and yet no sing-songiness in the meter. I don't know much about the process of manuscript illumination, but what is happening with me here is we begin with that (beautiful) opening stanza where a goldsmith is collaborating with the painter, and we end by breathing life into the characters in the illumination, and by pointing IN to them, and personifying them --- we simultaneously point OUT to God, referencing the imbuing of our own world with life. These are my thoughts this morning. Love it.
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  #3  
Unread 05-15-2020, 01:58 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Hi Rob,

This resolves for me into a Bruegel the Elder painting when it pans out in the second stanza.

In line six, I trip up: ...the holy infant's fat and sucks....

Maybe you can eliminate "holy"? accommodating that somehow to make it clear who infant and mother are and go about the line in such a way that you can clearly finish describing the infant before describing how he sucks. You may also be able to do this retaining "holy".

I especially like the end of the poem. Interesting how you have pendant moral messages ending lines 8 and 14 of this Petrarchan.
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Unread 05-15-2020, 05:37 PM
Cally Conan-Davies Cally Conan-Davies is offline
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It's a lovely thing, Rob -- beautiful, detailed, still, reflective. I really love the opening action, with the gold leaf blowing. That's a gorgeous image. Then how the image moves into a whole world of life, sacred and profane held together. I love S3 -- by this stage, I feel as if I'm looking at the actual painting.

I've just read what Rick wrote, and he picked the only line that gives me pause, too. I've been thinking that perhaps it needs a comma after "fat"?

Beautifully written.

Cally
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Unread 05-15-2020, 05:57 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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I like the mixture of sacred and profane in the poem, but I don't think a painter and a smith (or even a goldbeater) would interact as they do in the first quatrain.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldbeating
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illumi...script#Gilding

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 05-15-2020 at 06:01 PM.
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Unread 05-16-2020, 07:36 AM
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Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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Hi Rob,

I do not think that I have seen your work before and I am pleased to meet you. I am a sucker for sonnets and this is good.

I really like the play in the last line and I appreciate the volta but the goldsmith tapping a bar of gold into leaf and the metric bump in the hypermetric L8 jar a little for me.

Regards,

Jan
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Unread 05-16-2020, 11:42 AM
Rob Wright Rob Wright is offline
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Kurt,

Thank you so much for your comments. And welcome. I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it. Yes, sacred and profane has been much on my mind in the last months. Ans I like your observation of looking in and looking out.

Rick,

I pleases me no end to see your comments. I was hoping you would given your eye and experience. And yes, Bruegel the Elder is here – in spirit if nothing else. (I don't think I was conscious of hims when writing). Certainly the final images owe a lot to him. I see what you mean about line eight. I'll have to see if I can clear that up and keep "holy."

Cally,

Wonderful of you to stop in. I'm so pleased you picked up on the – as Kurt mentioned – the tension between sacred and profane. And Doubly pleased that you like the opening image which was my way into the poem. I've actually witnessed this in my former life as a cameraman and the gold-leaf tapped to a micron is like a a sea seen from a great height. And I will look at line eight – it may need more than a comma, but I'll give that a whirl.

Julie, Thanks for the links.

Jan,

It's good to meet you as well. And thanks for your comments. I'm afraid I'm rather too fond of the interaction of the smith and painter as is a tangible demonstration of the sacred (the artist's vision) and the profane (the bar of metal). I will look carefully at line eight, as nearly everyone has been caught up in it.
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Unread 05-17-2020, 07:22 AM
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Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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Hi again Rob,

I have no problem with the juxtaposition of smith and painter it is the vision of the goldsmith tapping leaf out of a 'bar' of gold, given the seemingly infinite malleability of gold he would be tap-tapping for a long, long time.

As L8 can be so easily regularised I question why you have not done so.

Regards,

Jan
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Unread 05-17-2020, 11:55 AM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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I agree with Jan that even a small gold bar would be way too much to work with for this purpose.
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Unread 05-17-2020, 12:13 PM
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Rob,

I assume the entire poem is about a painting in which all the action takes place. Not sure why the gold bar business worries since paintings by the supposed artist are rich with symbolism. The act of acquiring the gold leaf might be adjusted, but as a whole I like it as I like the (borrowed?) artist.
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