Friday, October 1, 2010

yet the brown bird would follow

when i saw this painting i was deeply taken by the expression on the young girl's face
and then by how she has her arms folded carefully in front of her.

it's a considered and meditative pose.
i've only seen it elsewhere in the mevlevi dervishes
as they begin their turning.

consider and meditate on the words of mary webb posted below the painting.
imagine that these words are inside the experiencing of this girl in the moment of this painting.

little miss prim frederick brown


the wood

tall, feathered birches, on the tides of air,
wash to and fro, like seaweeds fine and fair,
and deep in leaf and blossom from all eyes
the ropewalk of the honeysuckle lies.
there, crimson foxgloves taper slenderly,
and the brown-seeded brake grows ten feet high.
there are strange, flaming toad-stools, and the berries
of ash and rose, that shine like scarlet cherries.

the rose-bay willowherb, in her bridal hour,
bloom, and the larch sets forth her rosy flower.
kestrels are there, and tawny foxes play
amid the shadows in the early day
low cry the sheep, and leave their shining fleece
on the long vines of purple blackberries.

high in their minstrel gallery above,
hidden in fretted leaves, dove answers dove,
and like a distant bell, melodiously
haunting these glades, the music of the bee
chimes all the summer . . . like a bird, with wings
dusky and silent, i would flit through spring's
wistful, immaculate colours; through the dream
and hush of summer; down the rush and gleam
of autumn; and when winter, with a moan,
swept through the freezing wood aloof, alone,
prisoning the pine needles in shining, hollow
cases of ice, yet the brown bird would follow.

light as a last year's leaf I'd flutter by,
with the sad note of finches in july.
still would the foxgloves gather, spring by spring,
till should the feathered birches wash and swing
upon the tides of air, and in the sun
each autumn should the little foxes run,
while I in shadow dwelt. dark on the sky
should kestrels anchor, watching warily
for small brown birds: but in the meadow green
i'd fearless flit, beneath their gaze unseen.

mary webb from "the collected work of mary webb - poems and the spring of joy"

10 comments:

Elisabeth said...

A powerful match of image and poem. Thanks, Steven.

Linda Sue said...

Love the image and the poem, had to look up Mary Webb - intrigued with her life and problematic health issues - then went on to look up Grave's disease, from there on to thyroid problems and then to bed sure that I was suffering from - SOMETHING- felt like I had a goiter developing, turned out it was just one of my chins...Whew, that was close.

Butternut Squash said...

Beautiful painting and poetry! The honest simplicity reminded me of the Shakers.

alaine@├ęclectique said...

Hmmm, perhaps Frederick Brown didn't know his subject all that well; there's a lot going on in Little Miss Prim's head! Love the co-ordination, you're the artist and poet, Steven!

steven said...

elisabeth - thankyou for visiting so regularly!! each time your name crops up here i wish you a good and fast recovery. steven

steven said...

linda sue - the girl intrigued me. it's no accident she looks the way she does but man did the artist miss a ton or what!!! mary webb i desert island writing for me. people who know me would be shocked to know that but the depths of steven are filled with lovely admixtures of romance and sorrow and then some righteous goodness. mary tells it like it is for steven. steven

steven said...

alaine - wow thankyou. i am who i am. steven

steven said...

butternut this is my weekend for a cruise through the riches of your blog!!! i can hardly wait. i love the writing of mary webb and the simplicity which dances into richness but of the gentle sort. steven

Reya Mellicker said...

This is so beautiful - the words and the painting. She does seem to be so inwardly directed, finding internal landscapes. Beautiful.

steven said...

reya - i'm so glad you saw it!! the entire landscape of her experiencing turning inside her as she holds the great present moment. steven