Mixed Media Collage by Bonnie Currie of Arcane Memory Designs Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved
Today I watched a very interesting BBC documentary on a painting that has always fascinated me. It is beautiful and eerie, yet there is something peaceful and hopeful about it. A kind of acceptance of the dance of life in humans and nature. It pleases me to see human beings living so closely with the creatures of nature since it is the habit of the modern world to put them in such great opposition. I understand it is so close it could make someone uncomfortable to even look at it. It seems unorderly and uncivilized. I see there is something of the sensual pushed to its extreme in this painting, a kind of decadence run wild, while there is a kind of child-like innocence to it all. All of the people in it are adults, there are no children yet all these adults seem so child-like to me. It may have an element of something creepy in the garden but the creepiness is defused by the playfulness of it. What a happy thought, adults finding themselves in touch with nature and their child-like playfulness is this garden of delights. There is a balance to the middle painting despite its chaotic nature. I would even venture to say it is a chaos filled with intelligent design. The people in the middle all seem to be throbbing together in a dance of celebration, of life…a desire for excess perhaps, a desire to party and be party animals…so much so that it is hard to tell who is the animal and who is the human but all the same their desire for this joy, this bliss, this ecstasy is a renewal of their child-like sensual power…it is a desire for something to free itself. A desire for all they have been told is ugly and wrong about them to feel calm and at ease. When I look at the middle scene of this painting there is something cathartic and healing about it. In some way the painting seems to give one permission to live…to know their desire for that renewal is innocent but to also realize you are no longer a child playing, you are an adult so when you set your shadow free again it may be a little creepy, it may be a bit unacceptable, it may even have a little element of something sinister but the intention is innocent, the desire for sensual freedom at heart is innocent. These are my thoughts for the moment on the Garden of Earthly Delights. Though I know it is a painting I could look at time and time again and see so much more in what it is telling us. If you would like to hear more amazing thoughts on this painting check out the video I am posting from the BBC, it is very insightful! Then feel free to share your own thoughts about it. Like the scholar on the video tells us we really know so little about what Bosch himself was thinking while he painted it so in that lack of knowing there is a freedom for our imaginations, feelings and reason to play with the images. I would love to know where it takes you.
I would part ways to a small degree with some of the philosophical ideas, however, in the end I fully agree with his thesis on the importance of Beauty in the lives of human beings and how the modern era lost touch with it. I would want to add more about what is sexy, sexual, can be sacred and beautiful as well. Also, I would want to include the love of people of the same sex and other queer folks to be included in the beautiful, not just love of a man and woman. I would also like to attempt to show the importance of earthly things as beautiful. I feel like Plato’s concepts of beauty are too limited in scope. He comes across as using beauty as an escape from reality, the ideal takes you away from this world. Which is all fine and good sometimes, it can be good medicine in times of suffering, however, there is so much beauty in earthy things…I like the painter he discusses that finds beauty in the every day world of things, even in the face of the elderly. I’m just glad to know there are people out there who still understand how important beauty is to the human condition and want to do what they can to reinvent that idea.
“The human soul needs beauty more than bread.” -D.H.Lawrence
Today, I was looking up poetry by the late Arthur Rimbaud, an incredible romantic poet. I had to share this one because of my love for romantic poetry with a mythological theme. This is a truly beautiful piece of work! I understand his desire for the arcane world and find this to be a amazing expression of the senses. Enjoy! If you would like to hear it read I have posted a reading of it at the top of the page.
The Sun, the hearth of affection and life,
Pours burning love on the delighted earth,
And when you lie down in the valley, you can smell
How the earth is nubile and very full-blooded;
How its huge breast, heaved up by a soul,
Is, like God, made of love, and, like woman, of flesh,
And that it contains, big with sap and with sunlight,
The vast population of all embryos!
And everything grows, and everything rises!
– O Venus, O Goddess!
I long for the days of antique youth,
Of lascivious satyrs, and animal fauns,
Gods who bit, mad with love, the bark of the boughs,
And among water-lilies kissed the Nymph with fair hair!
I long for the time when the sap of the world,
River water, the rose-coloured blood of green trees
Put into the veins of Pan a whole universe!
When the earth trembled, green,beneath his goat-feet;
When, softly kissing the fair Syrinx, his lips formed
Under heaven the great hymn of love;
When, standing on the plain, he heard round about him
Living Nature answer his call;
When the silent trees cradling the singing bird,
Earth cradling mankind, and the whole blue Ocean,
And all living creatures loved, loved in God!
I long for the time of great Cybele,
Who was said to travel, gigantically lovely,
In a great bronze chariot, through splendid cities;
Her twin breasts poured, through the vast deeps,
The pure streams of infinite life.
Mankind sucked joyfully at her blessed nipple,
Like a small child playing on her knees.
– Because he was strong, Man was gentle and chaste.
Misfortune! Now he says: I understand things,
And goes about with eyes shut and ears closed.
– And again, no more gods! no more gods! Man is King,
Man is God! But the great faith is Love!
Oh! if only man still drew sustenance from your nipple,
Great mother of gods and of men, Cybele;
If only he had not forsaken immortal Astarte
Who long ago, rising in the tremendous brightness
Of blue waters, flower-flesh perfumed by the wave,
Showed her rosy navel, towards which the foam came snowing
And , being a goddess with the great conquering black eyes,
Made the nightingale sing in the woods and love in men’s hearts!
I believe! I believe in you! divine mother,
Sea-born Aphrodite! – Oh! the path is bitter
Since the other God harnessed us to his cross;
Flesh, Marble, Flower, Venus, in you I believe!
– yes, Man is sad and ugly, sad under the vast sky.
He possesses clothes, because he is no longer chaste,
Because he has defiled his proud, godlike head
And because he has bent, like an idol in the furnace,
His Olympian form towards base slaveries!
Yes, even after death, in the form of pale skeletons
He wishes to live and insult the original beauty!
– And the Idol in whom you placed such maidenhood,
Woman, in whom you rendered our clay divine,
So that Man might bring light into his poor soul
And slowly ascend, in unbounded love,
From the earthly prison to the beauty of day,
Woman no longer knows even how to be a Courtesan!
– It’s a fine farce! and the world snickers
At the sweet and sacred name of great Venus!
If only the times which have come and gone might come again!
– For Man is finished! Man has played all the parts!
In the broad daylight, wearied with breaking idols
He will revive, free of all his gods,
And, since he is of heaven, he will scan the heavens!
The Ideal, that eternal, invincible thought, which is
All; The living god within his fleshly clay,
Will rise, mount, burn beneath his brow!
An when you see him plumbing the whole horizon,
Despising old yokes, and free from all fear,
You will come and give him holy Redemption!
– Resplendent, radiant, from the bosom of the huge seas
You will rise up and give to the vast Universe
Infinite Love with its eternal smile!
The World will vibrate like an immense lyre
In the trembling of an infinite kiss!
– The World thirsts for love: you will come and slake its thirst.
O! Man has raised his free, proud head!
And the sudden blaze of primordial beauty
Makes the god quiver in the altar of the flesh!
Happy in the present good, pale from the ill suffered,
Man wishes to plumb all depths, – and know all things! Thought,
So long a jade, and for so long oppressed,
Springs from his forehead! She will know Why!…
Let her but gallop free, and Man will find Faith!
– Why the blue silence, unfathomable space?
Why the golden stars, teeming like sands?
If one ascended forever, what would one see up there?
Does a shepherd drive this enormous flock
Of worlds on a journey through this horror of space?
And do all these worlds contained in the vast ether,
tremble at the tones of an eternal voice?
– And Man, can he see? can he say: I believe?
Is the langage of thought anymore than a dream?
If man is born so quickly, if life is so short
Whence does he come? Does he sink into the deep Ocean
Of Germs, of Foetuses, of Embryos, to the bottom
of the huge Crucible where Nature the Mother
Will resuscitate him, a living creature,
To love in the rose and to grow in the corn?…
We cannot know! – We are weighed down
With a cloak of ignorance, hemmed in by chimaeras!
Men like apes, dropped from our mothers’ wombs,
Our feeble reason hides the infinite from us!
We wish to perceive: – and Doubt punishes us!
Doubt, dismal bird, beat us down with its wing…
– And the horizon rushes away in endless flight!…
The vast heaven is open! the mysteries lie dead
Before erect Man, who folds his strong arms
Among the vast splendour of abundant Nature!
He sings… and the woods sing, the river murmurs
A song full of happiness which rises towards the light!…
– it is Redemption! it is love! it is love!…
O splendour of flesh! O ideal splendour!
O renewal of love, triumphal dawn
When, prostrating the Gods and the Heroes,
White Callipyge and little Eros
Covered with the snow of rose petals, will caress
Women and flowers beneath their lovely outstretched feet!
– O great Ariadne who pour out your tears
On the shore, as you see, out there on the waves,
The sail of Theseus flying white under the sun,
O sweet virgin child whom a night has broken,
Be silent! On his golden chariot studded with black grapes,
Lysios, who has been drawn through Phrygian fields
By lascivious tigers and russet panthers,
Reddens the dark mosses along the blue rivers.
– Zeus, the Bull, cradles on his neck like a child
The nude body of Europa who throws her white arm
Round the God’s muscular neck which shivers in the wave.
Slowly he turns his dreamy eye towards her;
She, droops her pale flowerlike cheek
On the brow of Zeus; her eyes are closed; she is dying
In a divine kiss, and the murmuring waters
Strew the flowers of their golden foam on her hair.
– Between the oleander and the gaudy lotus tree
Slips amorously the great dreaming Swan
Enfloding Leda in the whiteness of his wing;
– And while Cypris goes by, strangely beautiful,
And, arching the marvellous curves of her back,
Proudly displays the golden vision of her big breasts
And snowy belly embroidered with black moss,
– Hercules, Tamer of beasts, in his Strength,
Robes his huge body with the lion’s skin as with glory
And faces the horizons, his brow terrible and sweet!
Vaguely lit by the summer moon,
Erect, naked, dreaming in her pallor of gold
Streaked by the heavy wave of her long blue hair,
In the shadowy glade whenre stars spring in the moss,
The Dryade gazes up at the silent sky…
– White Selene, timidly, lets her veil float,
Over the feet of beautiful Endymion,
And throws him a kiss in a pale beam…
– The Spring sobs far off in a long ectasy…
Ii is the nymph who dreams with one elbow on her urn,
Of the handsome white stripling her wave has pressed against.
– A soft wind of love has passed in the night,
And in the sacred woods, amid the standing hair of the great trees,
Erect in majesty, the shadowly Marbles,
The Gods, on whose brows the Bullfinch has his nest,
– the Gods listen to Men, and to the infinite World!
Arthur Rimbaud, a French poet, was born October 1854 and died 10 November 1891. As part of the decadent movement , Rimbaud influenced modern literature, music, and arts, and prefigured surrealism. He as known as one of the most influential poets of the late Jim Morrison. Some quotes about his life as poet:
“I’m now making myself as scummy as I can. Why? I want to be a poet, and I’m working at turning myself into a seer. You won’t understand any of this, and I’m almost incapable of explaining it to you. The idea is to reach the unknown by the derangement of all the senses. It involves enormous suffering, but one must be strong and be a born poet. It’s really not my fault.”
“I say that one must be a seer, make oneself a seer. The poet makes himself a seer by a long, prodigious, and rational disordering of all the senses. Every form of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he consumes all the poisons in him, and keeps only their quintessences. This is an unspeakable torture during which he needs all his faith and superhuman strength, and during which he becomes the great patient, the great criminal, the great accursed – and the great learned one! – among men. – For he arrives at the unknown! Because he has cultivated his own soul – which was rich to begin with – more than any other man! He reaches the unknown; and even if, crazed, he ends up by losing the understanding of his visions, at least he has seen them! Let him die charging through those unutterable, unnameable things: other horrible workers will come; they will begin from the horizons where he has succumbed!”
Strangers in Paradise
Caught between virtue and vice
Walking the edge
Wandering when all the madness
Will come to ahead
Strangers in Paradise
Will they ever realize…
This is their chance to dream,
To sing their fantasies into life
To understand their love is not a crime
Yet they fear what they could be near
A land of silk and honey
A chance to leave behind nightmares and schemes
A chance to make all they have ever wanted a reality
Longing for the ache in their chests to be put to rest
Lonely and Lost till freed by Love’s golden arrows
Unable to breathe till their gaze’s see…
Shooting stars and nebulae explode
In the eyes they long to behold
To embrace each other and cry out
Cry out for the chance to know true romance
To glance at a chance to be fancy free
To unite in dreams and fantasies
A union of powerful hearts that beat
Beating, Beating, Beating
Dreaming Beating heart’s desires
Firey desires, glittering dreams
The cellar door of their hearts swing
My lover, companion and friend
Look upon me with the eyes of hot consent
Speak me with desire and love
Tell me all that you want
And I will do the same
Reveal to you what these eyes try to say
To blend, to merge becoming one
Live the moment
A spiritual bodily awakening
Feel free in another’s arms
Feel our bodies hot and holy
Embodied love, energies align
Totally present to our hearts, souls, and minds
Sweet love when I gaze into your eyes the cosmos spins
Mystery unfolds to know all that is untold
To leave behind the veil of separateness
Bringing together the glorious force of masculine and feminine
Love that grows out and in, in and out
From me to you, you to me
Till me and you become we
We We We
It must come to be
The deeper and deeper we go
With our hearts we come to know sanctuary
We come to find romance is alive
It lives and gives the more we open to Love’s poetry
The more we move to the rhythms,
The dance of romance
Let yourself go wild inside me
I will let myself sway like a feather caught in the wind
With the release of our powers
We will grow like two flowers
We will dance and play like a bee on the most choice bud
And you will feel my pollen release like a flood.
By: Bonnie Currie