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Thursday 4 March 2010

Painting the Mountain

One of Cezanne's 60 paintings of Mount-Sainte Victoire

Painting the Mountain

Today I paint
the mountain,

line and word approximate,
provisional. (First thoughts are
hesitant, of love -
and little understanding.)

Tomorrow I will climb the mountain
only then will I know how
to capture it in paint
or summon up the gist of it in words.

But after climbing it, what will I know?
Its flintiness
its broken-glassness
and the heft of it beneath my feet.

I will have felt
the steepness of it in my labouring,
the softness of it at my chosen resting spots,
its silence deeper than my thoughts,

its lightness and the way it takes the weight of things,
the way its nature sides with us
against the pettiness of life,
a carnal flood to drown anxiety.

You may be sure it will be full of words
and frantic marks for me to lay on paper.
Composed of them -
and they of every tongue.

As now I think too much
the mountain stays remote from me.
The climb will plant it firmly in my senses.
The unsensed mark is just so much pollution.

Expect in future versions, words
employed more miserly and I
more tight-arsed making marks.

Haiku #69

Nana Mouskouri
offers pension to ease debt -
the Greek Government's.

- so that's where it went! - see Haiku #67.


Unknown said...

Hi Dave,

I love the idea that you can't capture the mountain until you've climbed it and I particularly like the fifth stanza.

As for Nana, I won't hear a bad word against her!

Rosaria Williams said...

Oh David, your widget doesn't like me, has excluded my comments.

Still, I'm here to tell you how much I like this poem. It is a clear stream of consciousness, the understanding of something, the holding it in front of one, the need to actually experience it to understand it. Brilliant.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Supreme David. The final line a tight powerful fist sealing the whole feeling.
" a carnal flood...", I feel that stanza so close to many poems I have written, after letting my labouring breath and my slippering feet, on any way up on some more or less familiar mountain, deliver their message.

@ctors Business said...

Hi Dave,a mountain indeed, of the mind, of vision and of emotion. Something that is both tangible and yet out of reach. When we reach the summit how clearer will our feelings, perceptions be?

Ronda Laveen said...

Yes, setting foot upon the mount gives future writing greater power with less words. Great musing.

Unknown said...

A beautifully crafted poem--I've particularly liked the crafting of your stanzas & lines in the last couple of pieces you've posted. The movement in this proceeds at a great pace.

tattytiara said...

Your describing the need to experience something fully in order to create something from it is a very telling insight into why you write so well.

Barry said...

I believe you won't know the mountain until you've experienced it.

But, man, you do know poetry.

Karen said...

I really like the linking of the physical act of climbing with the creative acts of writing and painting. You have some great lines in this.

simply me said...

hi dave
love the way you have captured the fickleness of our mind

Cloudia said...

Your "mountain top" intelligence wow's me.

Aloha, my Friend!

Comfort Spiral

Anonymous said...

Love your painting. Very interesting page.

Thank you for the kind words. Hugs

Kass said...

"...the way its nature sides with us
against the pettiness of life." - really resonated with me. The whole poem is stunning, as is that painting, which seems South American in style somehow.

Jinksy said...

Mountains reach for the stars - aren't you doing the same with this poem?

Dave King said...

I'm a fan too. No offense intended, just wondering about the size of her pension.

Sorry to hear about the widget giving you the brush-off. I have b een hav ing prob's of late. Thanks for persevering.

And many thanks for the kind words.

I'm pleased you liked the final line, I was in two minds about it. Thanks.

I tend to think all mountains are like that, so many thanks.

I thought the conceit might be difficult to swallow, so much thanks for the comment.

Thanks for a very useful comment, particularly the mention of the last two poems.

A connection I hadn't actually made, so thank you for it.

On the foothills, Barry - on the foothaills!

The physical connection is important, I think.

simply me
It's good to know that you think I have man aged that. Thanks.

You're looking through a telescope, I fear, b ut thaks anyway!

Sunshine and Baba
Ah, sorry, I pitted the caption. Not mine, but Cezanne's. I will make the correction
But a warm welcome to you and your comments.

As I Said above the painting is actually one of Cezanne's of Mount-Sainte Victoire . He is known to have painted it ov er 60 times. I do see why you thought S America, though. My apologies for the confusion - getting lax in my old age - and thanks for the comment. The lines you picked out are for me the key to the poem.

Guess o, yes. Aren't we all? Thanks.

Huzaifa said...

mountain is clean
forest is green

way to mountain is through wood
i must say, your poem is good :)

Dick said...

Language out of light, form and colour. A mightily impressive piece, Dave. Travelling along A8 towards or away from Aix-en-Provence, Mont Saint Victoire dominates the view for a long time and one is powerfully aware of 'the heft of it' along the close horizon. You capture that sensual physicality acutely here.

JeannetteLS said...

"Its lightness and the way it takes the weight of things,
the way its nature sides with us
against the pettiness of life,
a carnal flood to drown anxiety."

Yup. I KNEW I would be happy reading your work again, Dave. I don't know why that particular stanza leaped out to me, but it did. Thank you, as always.

Dave King said...

Hi and welcome to my blog. Many thanks for visiting and for the comment. Like the couplets very much.

Very many thanks for that. I hav e only seen the mountain from the air. Must try to pu that right. Even so, it was impressive.

Very many thanks for that. A most encouraging comment.

Dianne said...

-A reminder to revisit my beloved mountain and re-paint it anew.

The unsensed mark is just so much pollution

as is the unsensed life.

thank you for sharing your writing.