Saturday, February 14, 2015

Until only the mountain remains - writing inspired by Christopher Orr

Last week I read at an event in the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh.  The exhibition was called The Beguiled Eye and the artist was Christopher Orr.  (There's a short Vimeo video about Christopher here - an interesting guy.)  There was an open call for written responses and this was mine -

Darkness Visible painted by Christopher Orr (2006)

Looking at
you looking at
the stance says it all 
that slight leaning forward
the way your front foot begins to slide
the way the stripes creep over your shoulders
ready to head past your head 
all strangely quiet
not a sucking sound to be heard
or are there no other senses left?
just sight
just watching
the disappearing of light
the patient symmetry of the circle

looking at
you looking at
me tourist to you
who are tourist to
the road to hell's
black hole
not noticing
the traffic is one way

me noticing
you not noticing
me not noticing
the gravity of our situation.

There's a website or the written responses now called Until Only the Mountain Remains *- and here's an entirely unbiased recommendation - The Caretaker ** by writer son Callum Heitler.  Not to mention his story The Man Who Made the Weather which can be found in New Writing Dundee 8, out now.  He gave a reading at the launch last week (reported on STV).  All in all, pretty good going for our house!

* which is a quote from a poem by Li Bai (701-762) - I had to look it up, but I'm glad I did -

The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

** inspired by this painting:


At 4:57 AM, Blogger Christine Findlay said...

I love all of this, Joan - painting, poem and writing good news!

I'm away to explore the responses further.

At 8:02 AM, Blogger Maureen said...

What a marvellous poem, and it adds so much to the painting and makes time just stop.
Congratulations to Callum for his story, and the recommendation.
Many thanks -- until only the mountain remains!

At 1:37 AM, Blogger Mavis said...

Powerful response, Joan.

At 12:29 AM, Blogger madwippitt said...

Brilliant. Just brilliant :-)

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Sue Purkiss said...

Another terrific poem!


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