Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Poem

After an inspirational tour at the Minneapolis Institute of Art in May, I wrote a poem and sent it to my friend who had led the tour. It just made their docent newsletter! I think I'm going to start encouraging my students to make trips to wonderful places this year. I always get more out of these field trips than I ever anticipate.

Here is the poem:

The Inner Spirit
Chris Wolf
A prince and an eagle, soon Zeus’ cupbearer
12 years, artist’s labor
Portray an ideal-smooth skin, and preened feathers
Yet devoid of inner emotion, we search their faces in vain.

Her covered face, her arched back
A sense of flight, fleeing, agony, yearning
Will she fall to her bed in tears
Or be raptured by the unseen?

Oh blue stone, we want to swaddle you
Tucked in, fetal and vulnerable
Yet with your birth we embrace
All the future you represent.

Battle scarred and seated
We sense your power, defiance and valor
Still strong, you raise your shield
Bloodied, beaten, but not retreating.

Red glow of molten earth and sunset sky
Embodying the creatures of water and air
We are drawn to your chakra glow
Petroglyphs still inspire.

Our mothers above us, our mother below us
We kings are sandwiched between
Sitting in the visitor veranda
We face forward, and we ride.

Fierce, truthful abalone eyes
Center post of the house and
Lifeforce link to ancestors
Our home is safe under your gaze
and on your shoulders.

It is as natural as breathing to plant the land
His face content, he will feed his people
As many have before,
children will sow after him,
He has high hopes.

And here is an exerpt of what the mentor, Mary Grau, wrote: "...Last May I participated in Linda's... (class of ’09) final check-out tour. The theme of Linda’s Mostly Modern: 19th and 20th Century Art tour was Seeking the Inner Meaning in Human Sculpture. At each object Linda asked us to write down – on paper that she gave us, with pencils that she provided, on clipboards that she had made for the occasion – the single word that we felt best described the inner meaning of the sculpture that we were viewing. Then we all shared our choices with each other. The tour was wonderful; Linda’s creative use of interactive touring techniques, her thoughtful selection of objects and her own keen insights into them resulted in a delightful touring experience.

What those of us on the tour, including Linda, didn’t know was that one of the participants, Chris Wolf, was keeping track of all our responses. After
the tour Chris went home and turned our words into the poem you just read. Each stanza of the poem corresponds to one of the objects we discussed."

Here are the pieces that were on the tour.
1. Ganymede and the Eagle, Thorvaldsen
2. Torso of Adele, Rodin
3. The New One, John Flannagan
4. Warrior with Shield, Moore
5. Untitled,Whiteman
6. Ancestral Post, Agbonbiofe
7. Post Figure, unknown Maori
8. Farmer Sowing Grain, unknown, Japan.

Each of these pieces is still at MIA, I believe. I was able to obtain a photo of the #1 above (for the first stanza) from a "free photo of everything" website. I don't want to break on any copyrights of pieces, so please google them for a peek!
I think each of these stanzas could be a song, don't you? Thank you for appreciating my poem, Mary and Linda, it was such a moving tour.

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