Girl on the Beach, by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida
I was nudged by two friends toward two artists this past week. One was Robert of The Solitary Walker, who mentioned D.H. Lawrence's sensual poems about things in a comment at my last post "Ode to a Cantaloupe." The other was Lorenzo of The Alchemist's Pillow about the Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. (This site embedded in the painter's name includes his complete works.) As I began reading Lawrence's poems and browsing Sorolla's paintings, I loved how they met, like salt and wind. So I'm sharing a taste of that meeting here, with the ending of Lawrence's poem 'The Wild Common' and a few of Sorolla's seaside paintings. Lawrence believed that anything existential has to do with substance, not eternity. He did not want to dwell in the shadows, in the abstract, in the ether. He wanted stuff, something touchable — wings, feathers, waves, and something screaming like peewits, or pealing like larks. Feel the textures of sand, cotton clothing, hair, and water on skin in Sorolla's paintings. Languish over shapes, relationships, the way the wind is blowing. Hear the sounds of the sea, the bulls bellowing in the water, laughter of children swallowed in the slap and blur of the surf. And be sure to smell that salt in the wind, while you read Lawrence's rhapsody over being substance. If you have time, follow the link to the whole poem in the title (I like version 2; both are at the link).
excerpt from The Wild Common (version 2, 1928)
by D.H. Lawrence
. . . But how splendid it is to be substance, here!
My shadow is neither here nor there; but I, I am royally here!
I am here! I am here! screams the peewit; the may-blobs burst out in a laugh as they hear!
Here! flick the rabbits. Here! pants the gorse. Here! say the insects far and near.
Over my skin in the sunshine, the warm, clinging air
Flushed with the songs of seven larks singing at once, goes kissing me glad.
You are here! You are here! We have found you! Everywhere
We sought you substantial, you touchstone of caresses, you naked lad!
Oh but the water loves me and folds me,
Plays with me, sways me, lifts me and sinks me, murmurs: Oh marvellous stuff!
No longer shadow!—and it holds me
Close, and it rolls me, enfolds me, touches me, as if never it could touch me enough.
Sun, but in substance, yellow water-blobs!
Wings and feathers on the crying, mysterious ages, peewits wheeling!
All that is right, all that is good, all that is God takes substance! a rabbit lobs
In confirmation, I hear sevenfold lark-songs pealing.
Sea Idyll, 1909, by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida