To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
.......................................again
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Monday, June 23, 2008

12 Russian Ikons, & Others

The first series, below, was published under that title in 2003 by John Martone’s tel-let books & was freely available to any who wanted it. I’ve added several more poems here -- all written circa 2002 on my second Russian visit – just to round it out. Ikons of this sort continue to astonish me, for reasons that I can’t quite figure.

12 RUSSIAN IKONS
for Margo Berdeshevsky

1
crowds, like crows, bow down
they scrape the ground

a woman with a crown
a babe on someone’s back

she holds a scroll
& points

a figure in the sky
hands her a second scroll


2
Sophia, the Wisdom of God

sits on a central throne
with wings

The Savior

rests on a bed
as in a lotus


3
Skyscape with Angels

angels stand on clouds

some dance

each one
holds up a book

or writes in it


4
Madonna

holds the babe
a little man
with tilted skull
& forehead
without hair


5
The Forty Martyrs of Sebastian Lake

stripped to the waist
& bunched together

crowns above them
fill the sky

.

a horse that draws
a sleigh
in which the mother
drops the bodies
of the dead


6
Christ

with a cross

the others follow
with their crosses,
stumbling


7
a serpent bound
with rings

a table
with a pair of scales

the judgment

.

as the just man
strikes the serpent
a devil flies by
with the babe on lap


8
The Entry to Jerusalem

4 men in a tree

2 men lay out
their coats

on which his ass
will tread

the road to heaven


9
babe in a cup
the furry man
with wings & scroll
holds in his hand
& points


10
The Agony in the Garden

the others sleep

the man prays
to a cup perched
on a rock


11
The Harrowing of Hell

his right hand
lifts the man

the woman at his other side
in red

a key drops down
the pit


12
Ecce Homo

a beggar christ
in loin cloth
in a city
over whom
a god christ
watches
from the sky


THE ROSY CRUCIFIXION

1
a round faced jesus
with a moustache

2
john with wings
& scroll
has christ the babe
inside a cup
at which he points

3
no body
on that cross

only a crown
of thorns

4
savior with blazing eyes
savior with golden hair


THE LANDSCAPE OF THE LEGEND OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER

head
split by cleaver
hangs from tree

saint christopher
holds up an orb on which
the babe rests

gnomes
with spoons & bellows
ride on rats

a monk with lantern
climbs the tree
turns from the head & cleaver

fish fly in the air
bees swarm
from hanging jugs

a helmet
teems with tiny men
like ants

what feckless soldiers
fill this scene
what babes swim by

the water
& the landscape of
the legend

of saint christopher

of saint christopherJan Mandijn [Mandyn], Antwerp, early 16th century


THE DORMITION

1
GOD
holds the babe
over the mother’s
bed

at foot of which
an angel
drives his sword into
a blind man’s heart.

2
eleven saints
surround the mother
reading poems

the babe peers down
over her head

3
Christ holds
the christ babe
while the mother
sleeps


TWO IKONS, after Andrei Rublev

1
The Baptism of Christ

among fish
& fish people

2
a beardless
trinity
with wings
seated at table


ARCHANGEL GABRIEL

1
stares out at you
behind his mask

2
holds halo
in his right hand
staff in left

3
with deep brown eyes
with black red wings

3 comments:

Ed Baker said...

lots of good 'stuff' via John's tel let site
http://ux1.eiu.edu/~jpmartone/tel/tel.html


lots more via JM, his ('ordinary fool')'self'

your 'self' and others

Margo Berdeshevsky said...

I feel very honored, Jerry, to have these poems so dedicated.
A thousand petals to you,
margo

Julie said...

Thanks for sharing...
___________________
Julie
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