Monday, November 17, 2008
"Only sleeping," Tim Connor, All rights reserved
O Earth, lie heavily upon her eyes;
Seal her sweet eyes weary of watching, Earth,
Lie close around her; leave no room for mirth
With its harsh laughter, nor for sound of sighs,
She hath no questions, she hath no replies.
Hushed in and curtained with a blessed dearth
Of all that irked her from the hour of birth;
With stillness that is almost Paradise.
Darkness more clear than noonday holdeth her.
Silence more musical than any song.
Even her very heart has ceased to stir:
Until the morning of Eternity
Her rest shall not begin nor end, but be;
And when she wakes she will not think it long.
by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
My friend, poet & professor Ken Fields, suggested pairing this poem with this picture. I love the new, created 3rd thing -- the interpenetration of understanding -- that can happen with such a juxtaposition. For me Rossetti's poem illuminates in a way nothing else has the passionate aesthetic of grief I have felt in the the graves & statuary of Greenwood Cemetery, where I've been photographing for years & this picture was made. The 19th century cult of death is unabashed at Greenwood. Some would say it's over-the-top. Like this poem the artistry is formal & controlled. Yet it's whole purpose is to let go without restraint.
Ken is also known as buster/ken at Flickr. His latest book of poems is Classic Rough News. Here's one of his poems, In the Place of Stories.