Saturday, July 26, 2008

Frida Kahlo

I was blessed to be able to view the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art yesterday. While much of her work appears to be full of sorrow and suffering, there's a cathartic quality to it and rays of sunlight shine through from time to time. The image above is my favorite from the exhibit, full of energy and vibrancy and life. In her short life, Frida produced a range of powerful pieces influenced by love and sorrow, joy and pain, passion and suppression. It is my belief that in the end, she found the deep peace that comes from within, from an understanding that pleasure and pain are transitory. It is definitely an exhibit worth exploring, although I would recommend going in the morning on a weekday so you have some time to linger away from the press of the crowds.

Image: Frida Kahlo. Sun and Life. 1947. Oil on Masonite. 40 x 49.5 cm. Private collection.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Return

I'm indulging in the simple pleasures right now. Watching movies: I saw both The Dark Knight (great but, well, dark) and Mamma Mia! (a whole lot of rip-roaring fun) this weekend; reading books: I've embarked on a journey of reading all of Agatha Christie's books in chronological order; and sitting around with my feet very firmly up.

This poem came to my attention last week posted on a bulletin board in the hallway shared by a bookstore and restaurant in Half Moon Bay. It conjured up similar feelings to those I've had over this past year's journey. As I post it today, I'm hoping it will help me to motivate to spread my wings back out and set out on a new leg of my journey soon. And perhaps it will work that way for you, too. Namaste.

The Return
by Geneen Marie Haugen

Some day, if you are lucky,
you’ll return from a thunderous journey
trailing snake scales, wing fragments
and the musk of Earth and moon.

Eyes will examine you for signs
of damage, or change
and you, too, will wonder
if your skin shows traces

of fur, or leaves,
if thrushes have built a nest
of your hair, if Andromeda
burns from your eyes.

Do not be surprised by prickly questions
from those who barely inhabit
their own fleeting lives, who barely taste
their own possibility, who barely dream.

If your hands are empty, treasureless,
if your toes have not grown claws,
if your obedient voice has not
become a wild cry, a howl,

you will reassure them. We warned you,
they might declare, there is nothing else,
no point, no meaning, no mystery at all,
just this frantic waiting to die.

And yet, they tremble, mute,
afraid you’ve returned without sweet
elixir for unspeakable thirst, without
a fluent dance or holy language

to teach them, without a compass
bearing to a forgotten border where
no one crosses without weeping
for the terrible beauty of galaxies

and granite and bone. They tremble,
hoping your lips hold a secret,
that the song your body now sings
will redeem them, yet they fear

your secret is dangerous, shattering,
and once it flies from your astonished
mouth, they–like you–must disintegrate
before unfolding tremulous wings.

Photo: "Dreams of a Journey," origianlly uploaded by Laura Chifiriuc