being the theme for Victoria Slotto's challenge at dVerse Poets Meeting the Bar : Critique.
Everything in balance, if you please!
The colours warm and cool and light and dark,
tones and the intensity of hues,
the primaries and complimentaries
not pitched against each other,
but gently mixed - say red with green
or blue with orange, yellow with violet,
all these to be in balance, please.
This from a senior psychiatrist
to art school students with
a dream assignment: each
to paint a mural for the dining
hall in the sprawling hospital.
And this despite the fact that mixing these -
the red and green, the blue and orange -
kills them both. It's pitching
them against each other that enhances.
(Red is more red when next to green.)
This he would not have. But not just this:
colour, line, shape - emotion most of all,
the whole to be in balance, and to form
a scene of calmness and serenity.
I'll be along each day
to vet the work in progress.
This from another senior psychiatrist.
One mural I recall. A beach scene,
fishing boats parked up on the shingle;
nets, lobster pots, coiled ropes and paint.
As calm as any scene I could imagine,
but it did not pass. The fishing boat masts
cut across the faint horizon. Straight lines
crossing speak of violence. The patients
will become too frenzied.
One man's balance, another's violence.
Most difficult of all was balancing emotion.
What does that mean? What it meant then
I never did discover. Emotion in
the content is so personal - and yet it haunts
me still, seems to be the most legitimate
of all his strictures - and the one most
apposite for poetry. How easily - or not - can thoughts
of balance be transferred between the arts?
But I am sure that where emotion is concerned,
they should. Sensuality in balance with,
say, irony; tragedy with ecstacy, the sentimental
(baby food, but baby food that might taste good)
balanced by some meat. Matisee should have
the final word, I think: don't say the vase
is orange, but that the painting is!
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