Leafy Fingers 0’er-reaching..
Dried and cracking earth in sunlight caught of my eye first. Subtle pink all edged in glory. Deeper. Veinous. Paler. Centred. Tip of orange studded stamen. Chameleon leaves in blood-stained tinge at edge. Their camouflage at face unfolds. Crinkling pools surround at base. One smooth stone lay there alone. Leafy fingers o’er reaching boundary. It could have been a stranger landscape had we so intended. Cooler breeze in warm still air. Insects buzz around my ear. Hum and thrum in branch behind. Why’s Alfred Kubin so maligned?
Although not originally a prose poem and not involving assonance (nor much did my previous prose attempt!) I wanted to reflect on a rare occasion when I made verse with my friend Colette (introduced in my most recent post). It could use some work! She’d begun what she hoped to be a poem and handed it over to me to try and continue it after the first four lines (up to the word “centred” and while in conventional verse arrangement – represented here as a prose poem). Our writing followed the sketch she made shown below during a break from art research.
At first I hadn’t understood why she was so enthused to sketch a neglected patch of border in my garden during her visit during summer 2012 (- one of the last times she was well enough to be anywhere’s regular visitor). Seeing the quick sketch she’d made I realised it linked to our earlier discussions of some of the Alfred Kubin works and the histories we’d uncovered through internet research. Although her drawing’s nothing like any of the subject matter seen in that exhibition and just a rough quick sketch, it echoes some of the background of our discussions around those works. It’s perhaps influenced most by realising that some of the earlier exhibited drawings may have been the work of Alfred Kubin’s father, a geographic surveyor for the Austrian government. Her sketch is also influenced by our suspicions that the exhibition contained the work of many artists, not just one – and that some of those attributed to Alfred Kubin may well have been the work of others, particularly those involving violent, disturbing imagery stated in gallery discourse to reflect his sexual deviance and “mental illness”. The leafy form she’d sketched appearing like fingers that had just reached over and plucked a petal from the solitary bloom echoing her/our concern regarding attribution of works.
Our research about Alfred Kubin had led us to learn also about the Blue Rider group. Colette became very interested in the histories of Gabriele Munter (who’d attended the Munich School of Art disguised as a man, before women were admitted), Munter’s relationship with Wassil Kandinsky (whose work she feels confesses violent acts) and also the story of Schonberg and Richard Gerstl. For one reason and another we didn’t complete our research, always intending to return to our study project but always something else in the way. Thanks to her efficiency in taking notes and making sketches we’ll maybe be able to pick up where we left off as soon as the weather improves, hopefully along with health and circumstances.