‘If you ever think beauty has turned its back on you, look again’ – Lawrence
Das Schöne ist eine Manifestation geheimer Naturgesetze, die uns ohne dessen Erscheinung ewig wären verborgen geblieben! – Goethe
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'Beauty is a manifestation of secret natural laws, which otherwise would have been hidden from us forever.’ – Goethe
Edvard Munch (1863–1944)
Ung kvinne på stranden - Young Woman on the Shore (1896)
aquatint, zinc (N.B. on coloration “Motivet er polert og skapt fram med polerstål og platen er deretter innfaget med nyanser i blått, gult og rødmaling ved hjelp av tamponger.”)
The Arabian Lady - Lawrence Magnuson
‘I will not go
to Cuba with out you!’
her firm vow. but
is she trying to be cute
or have we lost each other?
of a last published
sketch which included nothing
but volumes of Renoir-like portraits of her
she from her lap-topped mattress
‘It was Wonderful. Truly.’
and then she claims
despite her Old Saxon name
that she may be Arabian
or be Arabian again
as if her histories, her stories and palaces can be built on sand!
They most likely can,
I mean, I’m trying right now,
O my postcard love!
why did I ask a beautiful woman to lie?
because her islands, her alleys would never be mine.
when I compliment her seriously
on her own seriousness,
she returns her leggy giggles,
a heron barely rippling the lake she flies–
no, use much smaller water and
fewer birds, she says–
like a widening string of spring water
darkening a strip of
pink shale nearer a sleepy red
(with the shaded sunlight
all through my hair)
there, at the little spring near the insect-eaten ferns
when it’s summer at Buzzard Cave.
‘then,’ she says, ‘dress me up well
before I get there and then get me
home in one piece. then you can go
big for the oasis and herons,’
and she laughs even more,
watering every flower in heaven.
(though I am careful not to say so).
O my flower!
Araby no longer much writes
though in my dreams she does nod
to me wisely of
the confounding appearances
of silver waterfalls
–as large as silver willows
and getting larger–
delivered with blue-necked ducks every time,
everything shimmering, near our two houses.
those white unwinding water scrolls
and those calm blue-black feathers
express, she says, synchronicity.
after all, she says, it’s happening to us both.
it’s got to be true.
it’s love’s final act before dying.
I tell you, she says,
these are undeniable symbols of love
sent to the dying, because
just a dream, she says, forget it. an accident. a stupid coincidence.
please, go to sleep.
what a bitch Araby is!
‘Wonderful,’ a word
spoken first by her to me
when we met
when saying and hearing
became a single mirror
neither was I the brave
one to even ask about
sea-fishing in Cuba, but she:
‘I will not go to Cuba with out you!’
but that sweet, adventurous
deal is dead she says
because she’s dull as a chrysalis
and she might instead read
that’s when she claims
exotic Arabian blood, starts
doing the long figuring
from her bed.
she says we’ll follow each other
along the long isthmuses of time
and then awake together, likely in
very distant flowers
this sounds good–
no one leaving anyone,
islands full of fishes and butterflies,
her rumpled white sheets
poised like island waves
across her queen-sized bed,
the psalms we read in her book of hours,
and, of course, her notion of
flowers joining the ends of time
my Arabian flower!
she wrote me last,
distantly from Cuba
that striped sorts and
speckled sorts of fishes swim
always milling through their sea-bedded hills
and not that far under
their mirror of bright revolving stars
stars that come casting after us,
she says, until we’re good and caught,
hanged like prisoners
two golden fish
on one star-silver hook.
she wrote me that from afar
when she was alone,
had all but left me
–I cheated on her, dancing
a row and again a row of pretty time–
she said no one will have a home,
with a well and a stone fence,
a small apple tree
that our hands now together,
just sitting and talking,
will from this day on
be wonderful, enough.
that in our place between
derelict stars, a love
is given us, Araby,
as lakeshore herons turn from gray stone
leaving vagrant blossoms rocking on the water.
O my flower!
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