Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Dürer: The Quarry


Willow Mill: Albrecht Dürer, 1496-1498, watercolour and gouache on paper, 251 x 367 mm (Kunsthalle, Bremen) 

To drift away from them, without slipping
always into these recursive
eddies -- the helpless leaf spinning
in the unseen current, the descent
beyond the tranquility of the millpond
into the unexpected hidden maelstrom,
the concealed swirling mêlee, all these late
disorienting riverine reminders
discerned from the anxious banks
during the departure from the outskirts
of the quiet village, perched
at the edge and margin of
the known world, back
.....................and again down down 
into the middle
ages. And after night

fall: forever the restless flood
of the memoria, the walls
of the town quarry crumbling, collapsing
the stove-in temporal
node detaching from the landlocked
superstructure, breaking away
gradually, in sections
much as a thawing northern ice-floe
separating itself from the mass
and tumbling into oceanic empty space...
those depths... is this history then?

Quarry: Albrecht Dürer, 1506, watercolour and gouache on paper, 225 x 287 mm (British Museum, London)


barkstry said...

would not mind being that leaf at all
amazing durers.
love also you posted early mondrians in the past
great words/great eye
such beautiful subtleties in life many miss and you catch

TC said...

Thanks, barkstry. Dürer's watercolour sketches are wonderful and often a bit spooky.

Here's his strange Apocalyptic Dream.

Hazen said...

Yes, to all of this, to every beautiful and powerful word of it, to the mind that sees itself, sees the stream, and itself in the stream, swept away from communal ground, questioning everything, but not lost. Form and beauty are how we pay attention. All knowing begins with knowing the self. If Kant had decided to be a poet instead of a philosopher—but a poet the same way he was a philosopher; that is, a great one—this is how he would write.

TC said...

Gracias, amigo. Let us keep one toe in and one toe out of that stream, for as long as we are given.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

I think Hazen has put your way of writing in its proper perspective, period.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Love this poem drifing in and out following thought to question at the end--perfect but not in a mathematical way. Don't want this poem to end, also not like math. Addicted to beauty, addicted to this poem.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

"......and again down down/into the middle/ages..."

Love this--love how it divides the poem in half to turn back on itself. Solitary, showing the breaking off from a huge chunk without mentioning melting but "tumbling" instead "into empty space" very visual with "the quiet village" still in mind.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

I know green is a color but that is not green in Duerer's "Willow Mill". That is the color of electricity and metal sun rain.

Wooden Boy said...

And after night


That space between the stanzas is a distance full of anticipation; All that crumbling, collapsing and breaking away with the coming of a disintegrating dawn.

We have good reason to be anxious at the banks.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

In 1496 the familiar
was not
that anymore--
backwards writing
the mill hidden
by all those willows
houses too slanted
to be of any use
color became
something else
around so much water
riches resources

TC said...

The poem was originally (in notebook, writ by torchlight) titled "Nightfall". So the space between the stanzas appears to have been an attempt to retrieve that earlier title; the way it adds tension to the programme now seems perhaps useful also. Thanks for noticing that WB.

larry white said...

The words rocks,
the lines walls,
the poem thawing,
"forever the restless flood"

larry white said...

Correction: "the words rock"
not "rocks"