Monday, April 6, 2020

Day Six ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2020


Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “write a trap poem. There are physical traps — like mouse traps and bear traps. But people also sometimes fall into language traps or social traps. Many competitive types in business and various games try to set traps for their competitors. Of course, for every person setting a trap, there’s likely another person trying to avoid falling into traps.”

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “write a poem from the point of view of one person/animal/thing from Hieronymous Bosch’s famous (and famously bizarre) triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights.” or maybe “from the viewpoint of Bosch himself? Very little is known about him, so there’s plenty of room for invention, embroidery, and imagination.”

I spent quite a lot of time today exploring The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, who preceded by several hundred years Gustave Doré and Salvador Dali, two of my favorite artists. Bosch's triptych is a fascinatingly beautiful and morbid work of art that's reminiscent of Dante's Divine Comedy, not just Inferno but also the other two realms. I wonder if Bosch knew the work of Dante, who preceded him by a couple hundred years.

I was first drawn to the Dragon Tree in the left panel, an arboreal witness to God's creation of Eve from Adam's rib. Did you know there were three important trees in Eden? The other two surely you know, but the third I was unaware of: the Dragon Tree or the Dragon's Blood Tree (Dracaena draco). Fascinating for me as a dragon enthusiast.

As a musician, I next considered an image on the right panel, showing a man whose upper half is trapped under a gigantic lute. On his nether parts is written, in medieval staffs, a song. I was fascinated to learn that this butt music has been transcribed into contemporary notation and performed several times recently.

But then I got to thinking about our current pandemic and began to look for imagery in the triptych that might riff on that. And there it was: a man and a woman in a transparent sphere growing from a plant.


Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights
(c. 1490-1510). Detail, center panel, lower left.


Here's my poem combining the two prompts today.

Babes in the Bubble

Listen, my love, we're safe in here from the plague.
Aren't you glad we found this clear bubble growing
like a beautiful blossom from this huge pineapple?
Yes, we're floating on the lake of contagion, but
trust me, we're safe in these glass walls, solid, hard
as ice. Fear not. Wait, what was that noise? Like silk
tearing. Zounds! The walls are cracking. It's a trap!
Help us, O Lord! It's a transparent Venus Fly-Trap!

—Draft by Vince Gotera    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Interestingly, Alan wrote about the same image! This happened independently and quite by accident. Great minds . . . as they say!

Transparency

In the glass sphere the yearning man gazes
into the young woman’s face, diverted
eyes and mysterious smile, her pale hands
cradling the slight roundness of her belly
too slight to suggest pending maternity
seeming confirmed by her closed expression
contrasting his open, ignorant gape.

—Draft by Thomas Alan Holmes    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Thanks for reading. And don't get into any glass bubbles. I hope you're staying home. But do wear a mask if you must go out.

Friends, won’t you comment, please? Love to know what you’re thinking. To comment, look for a red line below that starts Posted by, then click once on the word comments in that line. If you don’t find the word “comments” in that line, then look for a blue link below that says Post a comment and click it once. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   



P.S. It just occurred to me that you might like to see the images I described above that I ultimately decided not to write about. On the left is Bosch's dragon tree, with Adam shown sitting nearby. Top right is an actual dragon tree. Bottom right we have the poor gentleman with the song tattooed on his posterior. Hell of a way to live.   (Click on the images to see them larger.)




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2 comments:

Bruce Niedt said...

Ha! I almost picked that detail of the painting myself! Instead, I picked the "tree man", probably the most well-known image of the whole work. I searched for something less unsettling, but that dam tree man is something you can't seem to look away from. Check out my poem.

Vince Gotera said...

Bruce, I came close to writing on the tree man. I was thinking of making Bosch be one of the barflies sitting at a table inside the tree man. I'll go to your blog and read your poem.




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