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Thursday, 11 July 2013

Figure in Landscape

Please take a look at Peter Doig's Jetty, the inspiration for this poem ,(here)

Man
(potent)
in landscape

lost
in his own thoughts.

So:
is the mind active
or passive?

Is he thinking
thoughts of himself
or being thought of
by some inner self?

The landscape
intense
saturated
drips with self-absorption.
Is one
with the manner
of his thinking.

Sometimes
only the indefinable
has the detail
to define us,
archiving our profiles
for some future
day of the spirit.

16 comments:

Mary said...

This is deep, Dave. I did take a look at the picture. As I see the picture, the man is PART of the landscape. Perhaps we are always part of the landscape as viewed by someone else. Your question: "Is he thinking thoughts of himself or being thought of by some inner self?" is one for a philosopher or psychologist ; but as I reflect on the question I see little difference between the two points of view. Hope you are doing well, Dave.

Brian Miller said...

Sometimes
only the indefinable
has the detail
to define us,

oh that is a kernel i will turn over in my palm all day...as i think you hit something there

i would say the mind is active, always turning something even when we dont notice...

The Weaver of Grass said...

I like this Dave - I often wonder when I see a man alone in the countryside - is he thinking about the countryside, or is he thinking his own thoughts - or has he just become part of the countryside. Your poem expresses it well.

Carol Steel said...

I appreciate the inside-out-ness of this poem and the question it poses. I wonder this question much of my time. Thank you for sharing this.

Tabor said...

To me, it is not either/or but a tapestry with colors and textures that increase and decrease.

Carl said...

I'll be chewing on this one for a bit. A lot to think about.

manicddaily said...

Cool poem and I agree with Brian - although of course there is also the painter, or drawer, defining -

It is also interesting that you chose that phrase of the indefinable defining since this particular painting has so much color around the figure, and the figure itself is rather a shadow, a cut-out, athough it doesn't quite have that quality either - an ambiguity you catch. Thanks. k.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

David, it's powerful, the last stanza in particular a triumph. Something to comment in a poetry and art lesson at school!
Thanks.

Cloudia said...

Oh I enjoy that pay off!

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° >

kaykuala said...

archiving our profiles
for some future
day of the spirit

The ending is the clincher, Dave! Our natural 'database'would be there in some other's minds. Items may be revealed to our detriment at odd times. Great take Dave!

Hank

haricot said...

Beautiful phrases!
Pondering, he comes to be identified with his circumstance moment by moment...it reminds of Zen thought.

Gerry Snape said...

Peter Doig's work creeps up on you like a soft tide coming in...great poem...

Ygraine said...

Aah...a thinker after my own thoughts!
Thoughts...do we think them, or do they think us?
Is the landscape a projection of our thoughts, or we the landscape's imagination?
Are we, indeed, no more than indistinct images of the Spirit we will someday be?
This is truly wonderful:)

I hope you are feeling better, Dave:)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Though the words are few, they are powerful words.

Dave King said...

All
Couldn't get round yestserday. Tied up in outpatientts for a procedure which did not take place! Ah, well, such is life. I may have given something of a bum steer in that I was inspired by 2 Peter Doig paintings, Jetty and Grand Riviere . The latter I could not find on the web, so I simply omitted it, though it was responsible for the fifth stanza entirely.

Mary
I agree, I also think he is part of the landscape as are many of Doig's figures in his latest landscape paintings.

I think there is a difference between the passive and active forms of the thought, though we shall never know for sure because we cannot analyse what's happening when we are "lost" in our thoughts. We can only think back to a time when...

Brian
Thanks for the generosity of this, and yes, for me it was at least the kernel of the poem. I am particularly "bucked" that you should pick it out.

The Weaver of grass
You speak of the sort of experience I had in mind. At best it becomes almost magical.

Carol
Many thanks for a much-appreciated comment.

Tabor
Yup, I can say Amen to that, among others.

Carl
Thanks for saying.

manicddaily
Interesting points you raise. There is so much in one of his paintings, when you start to look.

Tommaso
I'm flattered, Much thanks.

Cloudia
Good to hear. Thanks for saying.

Hank
Thanks again. You always manage to open a new aspect. Good to have your thoughts.

Haricot
This, too, opens up a whole new realm of thought. Perhaps another time... Thanks so much.

Gerry
Superb description! Yes!

Ygraine
Tantalising questions. Is all of our reality but thoughts along the way?

Rachna
Thank you. A comment to treasure.












sharplittlepencil.com said...

Dave, I've known many "navel-gazers" in my time; in fact, my first marriage was to just such a man.

There are a million reasons to be lost in thought, and I'm hoping he was meditating on a butterfly or how to find the best words to apologize for a slight...

Ever the cockeyed optimist, Amy