a poetic review of Archives in the land a blog
By Ron Price
So often, when I go to art galleries, I get sleepy and all the talent, all the art is wasted on my eyes as I fall asleep in a chair leaving my wife or perhaps a friend to walk around the said gallery by themselves. It could be some visual disability that I possess; perhaps it is a problem with spaces. I’ve never really figured it out. The main function of TV for me, sad to say, is as a mild sedative.
My brain begins to shut off while my wife is getting turned on. That’s okay for after many hours with print my brain wants to turn off. The affect of my poetry on many others often induces sleep. I understand that. Different horses for different courses. Sleep is as essential to life as art.
One must write, one must engage in artistic work, with one’s eyes on something inner as well as someone outer. I find visuals on the internet, at sites like June’s I , much more stimulating. I don’t have to walk anywhere and try to enage on a distant painting. And I don’t get sleepy.
I can breathe the fresh Tasmanian air coming in my window beside my computer here in Australia’s oldest town. I can read some words, see some photos, some art, some colour. I can spend 5 minutes or an hour at the site. I’m in control, well, at least partly. The mix is good. The mind can engage.
The following prose-poem is a description of my engagement with June’s artistic collage some four hours ago.
Perhaps this is some of that
diligent indolence that Keats
said was necessary for poetry
to emerge in gentle self-surrender
to the savouring of days past,
days to come and thought’s gold.
Sitting, standing, breathing
here at this online gallery
letting the space, the photographs,
the forms, the varied shapes,
the words, bounce off my
sensory emporium like art
works around the walls
of an art gallery: people
I hardly know come to life:
a beauty, a freshness, a newness.
I try to get eye to engage mind,
but without much success.
Worlds are here but still-born,
to my mind, my tabula rasa.
What can I say? think? do?
Surely this is not just to enjoy?
”Just enjoy”, said the muse:
the smoothest of smooth worlds,
beautiful people, young, very young,
they pop up and up and down and down
and I stroll by with my eye trying to catch
with some of my quiet moments
some of their vitality from their young,
persistent faces bubbling over with life.
She is so beautiful, a thing unto herself,
something magic, deserves at least
a nomination for this work in this place
at some future Internet Academy Wards.
Created, partly, by genetic evolution,
DNA , in a process we are just beginning,
just, to understand. Such beauty, real life,
can be transferred to a wall, a website
and to your heart, that is usually slow.
So much space, order, regularity here,
evenness. I hesitate to send my “little”
poems onto these bright pages, my pieces
with their own regularities and evennesses
where the eyes, too, must engage the mind.
Who will stroll by my work?
who will try and sit and read?
Smiling with “what do you think
of this dear?” Who will sleep,
as I sleep, with my poetry laid out
before me on my bed of ease?
Who will read and watch these
images fly by in gay profusion?
Someone said there are several
trillion sites now for all of us
part of the unparalleled character
of the coming world civilization.
Well, here is one part,
one small part, sweet and young
and so very beautiful to defy
definition or description.
Are my words over the top?
February 1st 2006
Ron Price has a strong interest in publishing on the internet as well as other forms. A couple of collection of many links is provided below.
4 thoughts on “Ron Price Review”
I suppose an opening comment on my own work would be a fitting beginning to this commentary section. Just to establish a wider artistic ambience to my life, I will post the following enigmatic piece–one of my favorites, although it may not be one of yours.
Let the dreaming, lovely drowned
who loll and bob in bubbled wonder
tell us why, returning,
weeping, without sound,
we stand, wistful and incredulous,
along the shore.
-Roger White, “Lines for a New Believer”, The Witness of Pebbles, p.94.
Yes, this is no tea party, no sightseeing exercise;
it’s not an art gallery of marvels,
nor nature’s ninth wonder of the world.
Don’t think you can just come along
for a casual stroll, or collect
these enticing shells for free.
Nice fellows like you
do not get called lightly;
the game is serious.
He’s a bit of a joker,
a bit of a heavy dude.
I mean, just look at his record.
He’s a straight shooter, no denying that.
But you’ve got to figure out what he’s shootin’
and that’s not easy. He keeps his cards tight,
doesn’t let out too many of his secrets.
Sort of keeps you guessing,
if you know what I mean.
I’ve known grown men, seasoned veterans,
to go home broken tryin’ to take him on.
He’s really more clever than you’d think;
doesn’t let you know what he’s thinking,
a very enigmatic fellow.
Some he lets win, but by God
they’ve had to earn it;
he has a generous spirit,
some call it mercy.
If the dead could speak,
they’d tell you about the time
when he’d shot them quick and clean
after giving them so many opportunities
to play it honest and straight,
to play it true and blue, right down the line.
But life was complex then, you could hear them say;
the west was wild, you could not trust your neighbour.
There was an incoherent confusion to it all, then.
They’d say: “We went the way it was
for everyone and now we lie here.”
Some played it straight and went on
to win great victories; some lost the bundle.
You can hear them crying, even now,
standing wistfully at some table,
still waiting for that lost opportunity.
28 December 1995
Thanks for posting the poem Ron,
you raise some interesting points here on the
theme of the lost opportunity and I can tell there are many levels of meaning in this poem. So I will have to ponder it awhile.
pondering is good; of course, I suppose what one ponders and how–and why must also be considered.-Ron
Just dropped in here to see “what’s what.” While here I might as well post another prose-poem.-Ron
MELANCHOLY AND JOY
While reading Frederick Karl’s Foreward to William Faulkner: American Writer I gained a deeper understanding of what I was trying to do in my poetry and in furthering my own growth as an artist. Firstly, Keats’ lines about his own life as an artist are ones which are an eloquent testimony to my own aims and experience:
Ay, in the very temple of delight
Veiled Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy’s grape against his palate fine;
His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.
But I would add the following lines since the central inspiration for my work is not the classical Greek tradition, but a new tradition about half way through its second century or, perhaps, approaching the middle of its third century, or even longer if one wants to include the entire Hebraic tradition:
As well as consecrated Joy’s special light
Which empower’s men to fly to farthest height
And taste of sweet new life and darkest night
In the country of the inner life where fight,
A war, betwixt our fancy’s armies and His Might.
Many factors become decisive when a man feels compelled to transcend himself, to battle with those fancies and find inside that heavenly Might, that God within. Linked to this process for Price were several distinct but interrelated factors: still unresolved, still ambiguous, still paradoxical, immensely complex and impossible to discern insofar as their ultimate outcome is concerned. Every aspect of Price’s personal history fed into his present. The wider society, at local, national and global levels, was a source of energy and strength, a source of dissipation and weakness. Price’s poetry documented this cultural process, this contemporary history, although not in any systematic way. Price saw himself as living imagatively and emotionally in two worlds. One private and one public, one dominated by a vision of the world he wanted to see created and the other, one that he lived in on a day to day basis where he tried to implement the vision. The tension between the two was not unlike the distance the earliest believers felt between themselves and Baha’u’llah. In Price’s case this tension was his prison; in the case of these early Baha’is they were trying to get into prison. Perhaps Price needed to learn to love the prison he was in. Perhaps this was the basis for his paradox, his ambiguity.
-Ron Price with thanks to Frederick Karl, William Faulker: American Writer, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, NY, 1989, Foreward.
Melancholy and Joy
have breathed together
Since I was a boy
And so they’ll stay
Forever and a day.