Juxtaposition

Some say
art attempts to mimic life
represent what is.
Sunrise, sunset, shifting clouds.
Feelings within, so real and so deep.
Elation, grief, giddiness, disbelief.

Innumerable mediums
used to model, massage,
meld, shape,
perhaps punctuate.
To express what is
what was or what could be.

Juxtaposers of the real
and the contrived.
Can we identify the essence,
make that available to another?
Or does the essence change
by the time or while we try?

That moment of utter despair.
Does it curdle
as we convey its circumstances,
its shredding of our soul?
Can we freeze reality
in paint, or clay; words or tale?

Or is all art
but a flicker of perception,
the artist’s, the essence,
and the observers as well.
Never static,
though made apparently so.

Poem was motivated by a walk in Boston’s Public Gardens last week, when I took the first photo of the beautiful and graceful swans with the Swan Boats in the background. 
History: The Swan Boats have been in operation since they were created by Robert Paget in 1877.  He was inspired to make them after seeing Lohengrin, based on a German tale where a character rides on a swan. In 1877 the bicycle was gaining in popularity so he created the swan boat using a catamaran with benches, powered by pedaling, similar to pedaling a bike. The photo on the right is from the late 1800s. Interesting to note: the swan boats are still operated by the Paget family….and still have the original design. Tourists flock to ride them….and my grandchildren love them! 

 

42 thoughts on “Juxtaposition

  1. kanzensakura May 30, 2019 / 3:34 pm

    How interesting. We have paddle boats here in Byrd Park but not of swan design. An excellent rumination about art and life

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 30, 2019 / 4:19 pm

      Thank you, Toni. There is always a big celebration when the Swan Boats return each spring! 🙂

      Like

  2. Clara Coulson May 30, 2019 / 3:38 pm

    “Innumerable mediums / used to model, massage, / meld, shape, / perhaps punctuate.” I really like those lines. The structure and the words fit together so well. Great work! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 30, 2019 / 4:20 pm

      Thank you, Clara. So glad you enjoyed!

      Like

  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) May 30, 2019 / 3:48 pm

    The thought of what art is is a really excellent reflection… all I can say is that artist are always trying their best… (I think)… but it’s the reader that makes it come alive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 30, 2019 / 4:21 pm

      Indeed…..and the reader brings his/her own perceptions to the work…so it is never truly a static thing! Even though words or paint etc may seem to be “frozen” and still. There is meaning teeming within it — waiting to be discerned.

      Like

  4. Glenn Buttkus May 30, 2019 / 4:05 pm

    You had me at /is all art but a flicker of perception/. Moreover, isn’t all life but a flicker of history in the making? Your piece is very insightful and enjoyable. I believe in reincarnation, which makes me less anxious to be satisfied with the little we can accomplish in one lifetime. Teaching, poetry and photography have served me well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 30, 2019 / 4:22 pm

      Smiling I am, my friend. Perhaps you and Buck and I have met in our past. I do indeed believe I have led other lives….how else can one explain that deja vu feeling…or that “I know I’ve met you somewhere before” feeling? 🙂 Glad you enjoyed this one.

      Like

  5. charliezero1.wordpress.com May 30, 2019 / 4:07 pm

    Loved these lines:

    Can we freeze reality
    in paint, or clay; words or tale?

    A surrealism of beauty and your poetry speaks a calming and yet soothing embrace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 30, 2019 / 4:23 pm

      So very glad you enjoyed. I went a little reflective this time! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • charliezero1.wordpress.com May 30, 2019 / 4:26 pm

        It’s always good to be reflective. It keeps our minds thinking over and over and find new meanings within such beautiful poetry.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. sanaarizvi May 30, 2019 / 4:44 pm

    Such a richly woven and deeply philosophical poem, Lillian! ❤️ I am still mulling over; “Can we freeze reality in paint, or clay; words or tale?” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. kim881 May 30, 2019 / 4:51 pm

    Thank you for sharing the photographs of Boston’s Public Gardens, Lill – I didn’t know they existed. I love the Swan Boats and that they were inspired by Lohengrin. The background you’ve given us explains the design well and adds to the meaning of the poem. I like the alliteration in the lines:
    ‘Innumerable mediums
    used to model, massage,
    meld, shape,
    perhaps punctuate’;
    the idea that art can punctuate gave me something to think about, as did the lines:
    ‘Can we freeze reality
    in paint, or clay; words or tale?’

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 30, 2019 / 6:00 pm

      Thanks, Kim. I’ve always wanted to ask, are you near London? Near Southampton? Our cruises take us to these places and oh how I would love to meet you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • kim881 May 31, 2019 / 2:42 am

        I’m two hours from London and more from Southampton. If I were to move c;loser to my daughter I wouldn’t be too far from Southampton. Norfolk is East of England and I think the nearest port is Great Yarmouth, I would love to meet you too!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. msjadeli May 30, 2019 / 5:14 pm

    “That moment of utter despair.
    Does it curdle
    as we convey its circumstances,
    its shredding of our soul?”
    Such a good question, Lillian. In many circumstances, poetry can be a means of processing, catharsis, venting, articulating fuzziness bouncing around within, and many other things. How it draws these things out is healing. Perhaps one of the biggest healers can be the act of sharing with and validation by others. It becomes more real, especially for those who live in their heads a lot of the time. In cases like these, it doesn’t matter if it curdles, as it was the pouring of the milk that was the important part. Thank you for reading, letting me ramble on, and most of all for sparking the stream of thought 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 30, 2019 / 6:04 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment here. I so agree….I’ve written poems that bare my soul for me. Sometimes it helps to just see feelings in words…in paintings…in sculptures….in song.

      Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 30, 2019 / 6:08 pm

      Thank you. My grandchildren LOVE riding on them….which is interesting because they are very very slow….the absolute opposite of the thrills one would get at a carnival on a roller coaster etc. It is a calming ride….a quiet ride.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. acs May 30, 2019 / 6:54 pm

    This question jumped out at me ….Can we freeze reality in paint, or clay; words or tale? I agree with others that it is the onlooker or reader who perceives the reality in the art work. The artist put to paper or canvas their reality from that moment. Moments, moments, continuous moments strewn together to create our own reality. A very daunting mind boggling poem. thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 6, 2019 / 6:23 am

      So glad you enjoyed!
      Sometimes I stare at a piece of art and wonder what the artist was feeling when it was created….as compared to how it makes me feel…..

      Like

    • lillian June 6, 2019 / 6:25 am

      Thank you, Nan. So nice to see you here….I’m a bit late to responding as we spent a week with son and grandchildren. Glad you enjoyed this one.

      Like

  10. rothpoetry May 30, 2019 / 10:46 pm

    I really like the thought that art is just a flicker of perception! A great line!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Misky May 31, 2019 / 7:30 am

    This is a subject that’s always fascinated me. How a shape or splurge of colour can draw emotion from a person. Lovely bit of writing, Lillian.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 6, 2019 / 6:27 am

      Thank you!
      Yep….me too. I think it’s why I find art galleries so interesting! They make my imagination come alive as I wonder why I respond to something and not to another….or wonder what was on the artist’s mind in the rendering.

      Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 6, 2019 / 6:27 am

      Thank you! I’m so late to responding here….sigh. But truly appreciate your reply.

      Like

  12. Mish May 31, 2019 / 8:03 pm

    Oh I enjoyed this thought-provoking piece. I often think about how a creation is born of one’s own experiences and in a way, can be static to the creator, a frozen representation of their joy, pain, opinions, etc.The viewer/reader brings it alive again in a new form…like a recycling or reincarnation, so to speak.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 6, 2019 / 6:28 am

      Exactly!
      So late to reading and responding here….a week with son and family….summer on the cusp…and I finally learned how to make paper cranes with origami 🙂

      Like

  13. robtkistner June 1, 2019 / 6:57 am

    For many years I am both a successful selling mixed media artist and a dedicated poet. I believe art is two things Lillian. It is the work the artist creates, and the intention behind it. Art is also the personal experience one who purchases your art enjoys. They spring from a common source, but they can go in very different directions. I personally believe both interpretations are valid. It is this ecpansive nature of art that makes it so magical, so wonderful. It is the interconnected way art is shared. It is one reason I love abstract expression. Its truth is as immense as those who observe it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 6, 2019 / 6:31 am

      …”truth is as immense as those who observe it…” a thought provoking line in and of itself! Thanks so much for your thoughts on this one. It is interesting, right? How sometimes our words mean one thing to us and then are interpreted in a different way by another…and perhaps we say “ahhhhh” seeing that other side….or we say, “how on earth did they get that????” 🙂 Art is flickers of perceptions!

      Like

    • lillian June 6, 2019 / 6:32 am

      ….and although I am very late to responding (just spent a week plus with son and grandchildren), I truly appreciate your reply here, Anna. Glad you enjoyed!

      Like

    • lillian June 6, 2019 / 6:32 am

      Yep….flickers of perception! 🙂

      Like

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