Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nouvelle 55: Four Directions - The Star

"Four Directions" by stained glass artist Stratoz

My friend Stratoz invited me to write a Nouvelle 55 based upon one of his stunning stained glass pieces. This poem is the result. I feel drawn to connect Stratoz' piece with art by Marc Chagall and Carl Jung (who found in mandalas representations of the Self), two people whose souls exploded in creativity, as bright and wild as Stratoz' "Four Directions." This piece is a square mandala, when most manadalas are a circle (some with a square inside). Read Stratoz' post about the healing ways of mandalas here.

The story of Israel — of Jews, of Arabs— of the great conflicts that never end, was made more poignant for me this morning when I read that the large Arab population in the Galilee region of Israel is predominantly Druze. Some believe that the Druze people descended from the Tribe of Zebulun, one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Oh that the tribes of the world could be joined as skillfully as Stratoz melds the living colors of his stained glass, and as Chagall did his stained glass, and as Jung did the colors of the unbreakable self.

The Star
prompted by Stratoz' "Four Directions"

Break the mirror.
Four-square hands
reunite in sacred sand.

Gather saturation,
arrowed imagination

east-ended by the sea
a sky-blue Galilee

in the colors of this dream.
Gate my red
leaf-paint the green

Bright my heart—
     good this art
circling the sacred soul apart.

Pull into light, my star—
Self, borne into near
and far

Lithograph, by Marc Chagall
"The Tribe of Zebulun"
from The Twelve Maquettes
Of Stained Glass Windows
For Jerusalem, 1964
found here

The Red Cross, Carl Jung's illustration from The Red Book

Nouvelle 55 is a flash fiction written in exactly 55 words, based on a piece of art. 


Brendan said...

Fascinating your sense that the circle of wholeness -- the original 12 Tribes, if you will -- fractures into a four-pointed star, or four quadrants or quaternities. June would say these are the four poles of the self, intersecting dimensions of psyche. "Bright" the "heart" indeed that can circle "the sacred soul apart." Well, like my homeboy Paracelsus sd., nothing can be properly joined that hasn't first been completely separated. This pulls sweetly into the sense of self as personal and universal, the I and Thou, the tao. Boy that Chagall loved his colors. Glad you've come across Jung's Red Book.. It truly is a modern medieval manuscript.- Brendan

Margaret said...

The artwork here is stunning. The colors so lovely. My eyes can't help but focus on the canon in the last piece and feel so helpless with the hatred in that area of the world. I will have to come back and analyze the poem and read the comments. I had a bit of trouble dissecting it, but that is me - poetry illiterate. I know I will learn a lot from your intelligent readers. And then I will say "Ahhh." I always learn something here! :)

ellen abbott said...

the sky in Jung's painting is very van Gogh.

ds said...

Triangles inside squares inside circles inside hexagons... I know your friend (and Messrs. Chagall & Jung) would be pleased with this: pull apart to be soldered together, and the beautiful last lines. We are starstuff, all of us, no matter our tribe...
Wonderful message of hope, friend.

Dutchbaby said...

This is all so beautiful, Ruth. The stunning four-pointed star, like a see-through quilt. The primary colors give it even more strength, just as you describe them.

The lyrical cadence of your poem made me read it out loud. I'd like to hear you read it. Had you not recorded it yet?

A very close friend drew a ten-centimeter birth mandala for me when I was pregnant with my first child. She said that there was one in the delivery room for her first baby and she focused on this as her goal throughout her labor. It was a fantastic gift. Here are some samples:

I have given many copies of my birth mandala as gifts for expecting mothers. In fact, I'll be going to a baby shower two Saturdays from now. How nice would it be if I could give a companion poem? ... not-too-subtle hint ;-)

Ruth said...

Brendan, I appreciate how no matter what seeds I throw out there, you bring your rich cultivating fertilizer and mix with your hoe.

I guess my song is ever about wholeness, and I am also fascinated by the ways the whole can be divided, splintered, quadranted, and quilted or soldered back together. Sometimes the re-pieced whole is more attractive than the original fabric. Mosaics and stained glass captivate, the way Van Gogh's strokes do. Ahh, such a fractured life his was, and what a whole piece he left us, poor wounded heart.

Ruth said...

Oh, and it was you who first introduced me to The Red Book. . .

Ruth said...

Hi there, Margaret. I needed these reds today. I've been waiting for just the right moment to post something with Stratoz' piece, and today was it.

This is an open poem, without something concrete to "get." I can talk a bit about what I had in mind with some of the words, though I would not want anyone to feel limited by anything I write here. The primary colors here seem elemental, and I am drawn back to the sand (also used to create glass) and the sea, where we began, and I thought also of the sands of the Arab lands where so much division exists. Borders, divisions, separations, boundaries, these are what I am thinking of in this piece. Every day I am looking for wholeness, eliminating separation from the Other, in myself, or in anyone.

OK, that's a start. I could say much more (and I will, with new poems).

Ruth said...

Ellen, yes! Those points of light . . .

Ruth said...

DS, how many ways are there to divide what we are? Infinite. How many ways to be reassembled? Infinite.

Endless possibilities that I wish could be probabilities. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, thanks so much for your attention here. I would like to record this. I can't right now as the wrens are so noisy outside my office window . . . :-)

A birth mandala! Oh my goodness, what a way to be centered during childbirth. I love the message at the top of the blog you linked to:

We have a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong……

I receive your hint with honor. Please email me about it, with as many details as you care to include, and I will gladly write something for your shower gift (for better, or for worse, hopefully the former).

Stratoz said...

Ruth, thanks for the amazing words you have connected to my glass. Another e-mail came today to say a drawing of mine has inspired a sermon for this week. Feeling blessed to know folk who love my art and allow it to enter into their being.

PeterParis said...

Stratoz has made a really beautiful piece of art! But, is it a mandala? No problem, the good thing is that it inspired you! :-)

OceanoAzul.Sonhos said...

Ruth, what a beautiful poem, full of light and intensity, like a star...

Stratoz said...

Peter--- it began its life as a drawing which was round, and though all the rest of my stained glass mandalas are round, I made this one square. Can't argue with what the design asks of you ;')

Ruth said...

Stratoz, your colors, designs and light will keep on inspiring people like me, and inspiration is what it's all about, sparking that inner voice that wants to be heard. Genres will be intermixed, as will types of mandalas!

Ruth said...

Bonjour, Peter, yes Stratoz has brought light and color alive in his work. I am actually quite interested in the original mandalas, some of which have both circles and squares in their design.

Ruth said...

OA.S, thanks so much.

Shari said...

Ruth, Having some computer problems, but finally checked in here. Beautiful images, beautiful words.

* said...

The sacred nature of the star, the past, heritage (both ours and others) rich with healing, you capture so much here, Ruth.

As Beckett says, "Yes, light, there is no other word for it." (On my blog header & one of my favorite quotes.)

Unknown said...

You continue to astonish me with the beauty of your words. I don't think you could have painted a more brilliant portrait of this beautiful work of art and it's meaning. It restores my soul.