Thursday, June 19, 2014

Notice Me: A Poem of Aphrodite

Notice Me: A Poem of Aphrodite
(in the Spirit of Sappho)
By Linda Ann Suddarth

Inanna gathered all the me.

The me were placed on the Boat of Heaven.

The Boat of Heaven, with the holy me,

pushed off from the quay.

Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth

Desire has shaken my mind

As wind in the mountain forests

Roars through trees.

Sappho, 15

I am a sea-shell

sing through me,

radiate scarlet

to the western sky.

Laughter’s darling

is the breeze

that lifts my hair

cools the sweat

on my neck.

I am the wind silvery

with glee,

the trees ravished

with desire,

bending bodies

as if they remember

some pre-tree time

and the motion of water,

leaves like hair

sweep the earth.

Centuries run round

circles of the sun

Inanna, Ishtar, me.

Beauty catches the poet

by surprise

notice me.

Notice the glow

of youthful skin

the playful glance

remember the giggle

that catches running

from each silly child

to the other

until no one is immune.

Though I shout “stop-stop!

My sides are hurting”

notice me rolling

from side to side

finally breathless

no laughter left

until eyes meet again

erupt into a giggle-dance

again and again.

Recognize what Beauty is,

I am the purple

interwoven into everything,

the silence between things,

the song, the cricket’s chirp,

the heavy stillness

of dead heat in Su(m)mer,

the quiet of snow falling,

The wee hours

when traffic dies away.

Remember in the desert

the sound of ocean waves,

remember in the mountains

the vista of the prairie,

remember in old age

the beauty of your mother

when she was young

her hair brown and soft.

Notice me

even in the pain of love

the absence of love

I am the presence

in what is not.

I am color—

what makes you

choose one over another.

A painting for this wall?

Or to leave it white?

Like the brrrrrr

in a man’s deep voice

or the delicate collar-bone

peeping through a woman’s blouse

desire springs through

all things life-giving,

wonder at it,

this is me
this is yours.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Abstract for MA thesis: Mystical Tension: The Grail Legend as Analogue of the Creative Process

Mystical tension: The Grail legend as analogue of the creative process
Master Thesis The University of Texas at Dallas 117 (1995)
The Grail legend as it occurs in Parzival , by Wolfram von Eschenbach, serves as an analogue of the creative process as I have experienced it in my paintings and poems exhibited at the University of Texas at Dallas in the spring of 1994. The paintings are a series of images of vessels that illustrate my various conceptions--which change over time--of the Grail. The poems parallel steps along the journey taken by Parzival in his progress to selfhood. The thesis is divided into chapters that demarcate the stages of Parzival's maturation, culminating in his "attainment" of the Grail. The works of anthropologist Victor Turner and of Carl and Emma Jung not only shed light on Parzival but also offer parallels to my creative work. The structure of the initiation rituals described by Turner is similar to the process through which Parzival arrives at maturity and the identity confirmed by his new name and status. The symbolic nature of Parzival's initiation is paralleled in the symbolic nature of my experience of the creative process. My creative work arises from a need to define myself through the symbolic media of painting and poetry. The process of "individuation" and "transformation" through which the creative artist and poet works toward this goal has been described by Carl Jung. The most powerful model for this integration of the "Self" is found in the alchemical model elaborated by Emma Jung and Marie von Franz in The Grail Legend . The alchemical metaphor of a cosmos created in a glass vessel--which alchemists often called a "uterus"--is exactly the theme of my paintings. At the center of this creation, as Jung put it, there is a "hidden treasure." This hidden treasure is the soul. The language that Turner and the Jungs use in their own fields has enabled me to identify meanings that are hidden in my own work as a result of the intuitive method I use. The hidden meanings inherent in the Grail are thus parallel to meanings hidden in my work. Both the poetry and painting attempt to define the Grail, which defies definition. The problem creates branches to some of the deepest questions, such as what it is to be contained in mortality itself and to grapple with the unknown. Such questions imply that through vital experience, such as confronting death, a transformation takes place that vitalizes the creative work as well. The work thus attains the status of the Grail (gift) as an outcome of the initiatory hell-trip and rebirth. The assumption is that the search for meaning, or "spirit" as Carl Jung called it, is the main driving force in human beings. In this way I emphasize that the terms "art" and "meaning" are synonymous. For me the most direct road to this goal is the intuitive process--a finely tuned mechanism that incorporates these issues unconsciously by tapping into archetypes and providing a link with myth and ritual.

Treasure Hunting

This one had to incubate for awhile:

Treasure Hunting

From the depths of the sea
a white whale rises up
across his forehead is written
I am tied to his side.

The goddess Ganges is also a river
deep within I find
Axis Mundi
the alive meet the dead
I immerse myself.

Lady of the Lotus-born
buries the treasure
under the snowy mountain ranges
something is cooking underground
it is time for me to dig.

My mother is Persephone,
I am Demeter,
for twenty years
from the underworld
she has taught me how to live
Hades is not so bad
I listen
my ear is to the ground.

I find a trail of pearls
through the forest
and meet myself
at the talking spring
I peel off my outer layer
from night emerges day
I string the pearls
so I won’t forget to retrace
the path of becoming.

Merlin retreats into stone
stone retreats into forest
in visions Merlin visits
with coned hat alive with stars
he gives me his hat
and a blue third eye.
A door in an oak tree opens
words and then pages fly out
The oak says, “Unlock the secrets of nature.”

I dream the Dalai Lama smiles
and gives me a sacred stone
as I hold it in my hand
images and colors flow out of it
I fly with the stone
to the innermost circles
of his Buddhist palace
new architecture appears
new circles emerge
within old ones
here babies are asleep
a chamber orchestra plays
women wash white linen.

A pattern emerges
what is hidden
buried deep within
earth, water, and sky
in the architecture of the soul
are rooms I seek
here one thing transforms into another
just as straw is spun into gold.
Apparently, I am ready for alchemy.