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Tuesday 19 March 2013

Strange Companions

Faun, Horse, and Bird, 1936 Pablo Picasso

(Image provided as prompt by The Mag)

Unlikely trio.
Faun, for instance:
what does he get from horse and bird
or they from him?

Pan without his pipes -- Pan shorn
of music... hardly Pan at all.

Half goat, half man,
God of woods and wilderness.
Pan--ic--inducing spirit of the wilds,
cause of sudden fears that fell
like nets upon the traveller.

Yet here at peace with horse and bird --
hardly woodland animals!
What draws him to these two? Perhaps
a craving to be whole. Complete. A something more
than half and half.
We, being half of flesh and half of spirit, understand
the strong desire to be the higher one
entire. He sees what we see in the clean sweep
of a bird through sky,
in beings of one element,
not flesh plus spirit, this plus that,
how wings should somehow guarantee
the wholeness we and he desire...
and yet this fowl
is somewhat earth bound. Flight is limited.
There is a measure of affinity.

And from the horse? Flesh
subservient to spirit?
The spirit grooms the flesh.
Aristocrat of animals. Aloof-
ness in the tilt of head
might indicate
he's sure of special status in the world.

And they for their part, see in him
an otherness they neither can make out
nor wish to do without.


Brian Miller said...

smiles..i like the use of half n half...ha..it plays well on pan...and his desire to be more or see more or be complete...makes hime nearly human now doesnt it...and if there was something to stir that desire i think it would be nature...

subservient to spirit?
The spirit grooms the flesh.

really like this description of the horse as well

Gerry Snape said...

Dave...this is so deep and thoughtful.....the flesh and the spirit and the thoughts that we would be one or the other ...I have to make this a keeper!!! thankyou.

Mary said...

Wow, you have really explored this painting in depth, Dave. How inspiring....the craving to be whole, more than half and half! Very thought-provoking.

Sabio Lantz said...

But is "the higher one" flesh or spirit.
For without flesh, there is not spirit.
And without spirit, there is not appreciation of flesh.
Yes, you say it well: "the wholeness"
Good play on these tensions

Anonymous said...

Such an interesting image and poem. I found the end especially powerful - what we seek for in the gusting of the animal, the other - very well expressed. k.

Grace said...

Love this take Dave ~ We are drawn, seeking completeness with others, being half and half ~

Lyn said...

"A craving to be whole"...you found the key...beautiful, deeply spiritual!

Jinksy said...

Interesting ponderings about the nature of man, myths and animals...

Berowne said...

Strong, perceptive, rather deep; well done...

anthonynorth said...

I often say myself that being too material nowadays we only live in a half world.
Great write.

Janine Bollée said...

Doesn't pan out, does it?
[pardon the pun]

Is it horror and disgust on the horse's face?
Would a Centaur have been more to its liking?

Old Pablo liked to confuse us.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Splendid observations, I particularly agree on the aristocracy of the horse.

Ygraine said...

"The spirit grooms the flesh"...this brings me out in goose bumps.
I can't really say why, but I think it may have something to do with a powerful inner longing for Spiritual connection...to BE (rather than just observe) other life forms...to fully understand and integrate with all experiences of life.
I have always felt this way about the half-and-half nature of Pan.
To me, he is the ultimate shape-shifter, symbolising the diversity of all creation.
I believe this is the "wholeness" we seek in every experience on Earth.
A truly thought-provoking piece, Dave.
Thank you so much for getting my brain cells moving!:)

Carl said...

"a craving to be whole. Complete. A something more
than half and half."

Just brilliant. I am always amazed at how much your poems are jumping off points for for all kinds of ideas for me.

Elephant's Child said...

A stunning exploration. Thank you.

kelvin s.m. said...

...sometimes what we consider differences to others is what also make 'em more attractive to us... and thus, at the end of the day makes a better companion... i would rather prefer go and play with a faun in the woodland than be a thespian to the world of men... smiles...

Dave King said...

Yup, I think I go along with both of your points. Thanks for the thoughts.

Wow, thanks -- well beyond my expectations!

Thanks Mary. Always good to know your take on. Very much appreciated.

Good point, and I take it absolutely. Thanks for making it.

Thank you for this, especially for your comments about the final stanza. I had thought this might be somewhat problematic.

I think so, yes. the tug of spirit and against flesh forms the major part of religious literature, it seems to me.

Hi and welcome to you. Thanks for your comments.

Thanks Jinksy. Good to have your thoughts.

Much appreciate your comment. Thank you for making it.

Excellently put. I shall remember that. Many thanks for saying.

Or he saw no confusion, was more the surrealist than we are apt to realise? But I take your point.

Thanks Tommaso, I was particularly hoping for comment on that.

Ah, sorry about the goose bumps, but to the rest of your comment I can totally relate. Both to the nature of Pan and to the wholeness that drives much of our yearning -- whether we recognise it as that or not.

Good to know that you find them useful as jumping off points -- and interesting, too, as many of them are a sort of thinking aloud for me. Thanks for your thoughts.

The Elephant's Child
Thanks for such a generous remark.

I like your final sentence rather more than I know how to say. I. too, was smiling at it. Thanks.

Strummed Words said...

Since this was painted in 1936, the start of the Spanish Civil War, it may say a lot about creatures rearing their heads and man reduced to half-human, half-creature.

Helen said...

Picasso himself would have appreciated your poetry ...

Tess Kincaid said...

Excellent stuff...perhaps Pan is searching for his wave swept pipes...

Silent Otto said...

The joy of life, the Bacchanalia of learning to combine all these disparate elements, somewhat painful, sometimes , uber democracy !, cheers Dave