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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ekphrasis - using art to inspire poetry...

Apollo
Greek god of music, healing and prophecy

The following is an example of ekphrastic poetry.

Ekphrasis, a new word to me; yesterday to be exact!

Archaic Torso of Apollo
by Rainer Maria Rilke

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark centre where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur;

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star; for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.

~~~~~~~~

6 comments:

steven said...

alaine - i had heard that word but not connected a meaning to it. now i see. i do that sometimes. hmmmm. does that make me ekphratic? steven

Betsy said...

Nice ~ you always have such interesting, thoughtful poetry!

Alaine said...

Steven...I suppose you are and me too but what a lovely thing to do...perhaps we do it the reverse; read the poetry and then put the pictures in place as we feel the prose and find the art to perfect the picture? We're definitely 'ekphratic'!

Alaine said...

Betsy...thank you! I love poetry that gets me into the mind of the poet! Sounds rather deep but most of what I enjoy tells me that the poet and I are on the same wavelength about life and nothing much has changed over the centuries!

Lyn said...

Quite a bit better than a graphic description..what we have is POETRY!

Alaine said...

Lyn...yes, REAL poetry, not the airy-fairy!