Friday, January 13, 2017

A Quilt, a Garment, a Garden...

Everything is new; nothing is new. That paradox is on my mind these days, as I prepare for my Modern Poetry course and as I try to process the cognitive dissonance of our post-truth world.

Creating things really is the only way through this sort of thing. I think back to Salem, Massachusetts, in the aftermath of the witch trials. As the terror lingered, as the survivors adjusted to lives that would never again be trauma-free (the dreams of seeing one's neighbors hanged; every knock on the door for the next five days or fifty years triggering the certainty that they've come for me...), I imagine a quiet, introspective woman, in mourning for the community she once knew and loved that had gone mad seemingly overnight, guilty for feeling relieved that she herself had avoided the noose, turning to some way she had of creating beauty in the midst of all that ugliness. A quilt; a winter cloak with stitching so fine that no winter wind would find a way in; a patch of garden pleasing to the eye and nourishing to a body deprived of luxury.

Or a quiet, introspective woman in northern France during the Plague years...again, in mourning for the community she once knew and loved that had gone mad seemingly overnight, guilty for feeling relieved that she herself had avoided (so far) that fate, turning to some way she had of creating beauty in the midst of all that ugliness. A quilt; a winter cloak with stitching so fine that no winter wind would find a way in; a patch of garden pleasing to the eye and nourishing to a body deprived of luxury...

Anywhere, at any of these dark times: a quilt; a garment with fine stitching; a garden...

...A poem, a song, a painting, a sculpture formed with a plasma torch from a piece of found metal...

Make something, the imagination pleads, in the quest to attain to some new normal after a reminder of just how abnormal things can get.

(This is no time for art, the ones who are still caught up in the madness will tell you. Artists are the problem, say the ones who embody the madness. There are dangers, to be sure.)

And just as important as making, be the one who is open to seeing these small, beautiful, necessary things. Things that re-order the chaos. Things that startle us because they are new, and yet comfort us because we realize we have known and needed them all along. And always will.

*

winter
angle
becoming
acquainted
with
each
new
shadow


3 comments:

  1. Jean, you certainly cause people to try and understand other people.
    __ When one lingers in the shadows, those that see imagine beyond their sight__ within "each new shadow".
    __ Unable to explain as they see, they invent/invented. Nice_!
    _m

    in the shadow
    an artest paints their words
    seers imagine

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