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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Death sent to Coventry


In time he will capitulate
                                     paint only
that which pleasure him:
                                   eternal beauty
                                   youth sublime.
But just for now
he'll look around him
take a balanced view
                               see that
the Emperor is dying.
The Empire too
                       it crumbles
                       as the moral order falters
the canker grows in root and branch.


"Eat, drink
                be merry all," the people laugh
"disintegration follows decadence. We die."


Here Klimt has followed Munch and Schiele
to catch the public mood
                                     to draw from death
and loathsomeness a lighter joie de vivre.


Within the picture frame
                                    Death dominates
                                                             but is ignored.
They do not even glance his way
                                                these hedonists
                                                                      absorbed
exploring one another
                                in echoes of Klimt's Kiss.


They lie on beds of flowers - women for the most part
                                              those who give us life -
a baby too
is cradled in erotica -
                               in that
                                        which does most easily seduce.
When all is surface glitter, shallowness, can death
                                                                          be long delayed?
Soon both his public and himself
will be enticed
                     soon shimmer will be all
the end to which it here is means
                                                 forgotten by the way.
Death sent to Coventry
                                   though here it purifies
will burn
             the ancient timbers to preserve
the new
           before they too decay.

The image of Klimt's "Death and Life" was provided by Jingle Poetry as the prompt for this week's poem.

17 comments:

Gerry Snape said...

wonderful....did you see the programme with the war pics of the bombing in Coventry this week? the John Piper painting was called .."our Guernica" I think that the shenanigans going on at the moment would interest Shiele and Klimt and maybe Piper as well. Not a word in the paper about the famine only an elderly man with shaving cream on his face. What does this say of us in 2011?

Jim Murdoch said...

Needless to say when my wife first came over here there were a number of expressions that were unknown to her: sending someone to Coventry, jumping off at Paisley, giving someone a Glasgow kiss. I though I knew all his paintings but I don't recall seeing this one before. I wonder why it isn't reproduced more? It's very good.

Dave King said...

Gerry
I haven't seen the programme as yet, but I have recorded it. Your remarks have given me something of a keen edge of anticipation. As to the famine V the elderly man with shaving cream on his face, I pass!

Jim
Now you have the advantage over me: Jumping off at Paisley and a Glasgow Kiss I do not know - I've led a VERY sheltered life!

All I can think, re the painting's lack of publicity is that it is an early work which pre-dates most of the popular ones. Having said which, it is later than "The Kiss" and - in my opinion - draws on it.

Jim Murdoch said...

get off at Edgehill Vrb phrs. To perform coitus interruptus. A catholic Liverpudlian expression derived from the symbolic use of the railway station before the Mersey tunnel and the last stop. Also heard phrased as jump off at Edgehill. Other UK cities also have their own variations, such as get off at Paisley, used in Glasgow; get off at Gateshead, used in Newcastle-upon-Tyne; get off at Haymarket, used in Edinburgh.

Glesga kiss Noun. A headbutt. Cf 'Glasgow kiss'. [Glasgow use]

mindsinger said...

While reading your poem, I thought, "This guy has to be from England." So I looked up your info and sure enough there it was. Although it could have been penned here in America just as well. And you do say it well!

poetsenvy said...

Enjoyed "Death Sent to Coventry" as Klimt's painting is explored. Thanks for sharing.

Suz said...

I loved your line breaks..ow and when of them
such an interesting poem
and sadly we humans never change
only repeat
Loved the painting..haven't seen it before either
love the artist's work
again...enjoyed this very much

Jingle said...

this one is divine.
good luck.

Thanks for sharing a brilliant piece with us.
it demonstrates your poetry talent powerfully.

angelacohan321 said...

A powerful piece--I enjoyed your writing style.

Marbles in My Pocket said...

I sensed a touch of today's world chaos in your words. Very well done poetry. Over my simplistic efforts, for sure.

Titus said...

Stunning poem Dave, read like a genuine meditation on the painting. The section
Within the picture...
to
...absorbed
really caught me with that rhyme.

Also a little more educated with Jim's get off at Edgehill. Who knew?

Rose said...

Beautifully written!

lunawitch15 said...

great story

Windsmoke. said...

Very enjoyable poem and colourful painting :-).

beccagivens said...

Beautifully penned -- thank you for sharing!

thingy said...

Your words are like a painting. Fabulous.

Dave King said...

Jim
Ah, I remember now: I had heard of the Glasgow kiss -from a football fan! The rest was new to me, though if I'd been a bit brighter I suppose I might have workled it out! Many thanks for the enlightenment.

mindsinger
Hi. Good to have you visiting, and many thanks for the comments. They are all useful.

poetsenvy
And my thanks to you for your visit and your response. A warm welcome to you.

Suz
Welcome again. Good to have your company. Many thanks for such a helpful comment.

Jingle
Thanks again for such a generous comment.

angelacohan321
Hi, welcome. really good to have you visiting. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Marbles in My Pocket
Your visit and your comments are very much appreciated. In many ways the chaos that Klimt knew was very likeours today. Thank you for your feedback. Your efforts did not strike me as simplistic, not in any way at all. I hope you will come again.

Titus
Thanks for those kind comments. They are much appreciated. Yes, Jim's enlightening comments went down very well, I think. I suppose we might have latched on to the phrase "getting off"... but there you are, I for one did not!

Rose
Much thanks.

lunawitch15
Welcome to you. It's good to hear that you liked it. Thanks for saying so.

Windsmoke
Thanks for the appreciation.

beccagivens
ASnd my thanks and a very warm welcome to you.

thingy
And your comment, too, is fab'. Thank you for it.