Saturday, May 29, 2010

A poem for Beauty and her beast...and the 'Green Jack"

The "Green Jack" so far.  Pencil straight onto canvas.  Acrylic washes to go over, more pics soon.

I wrote this poem about Beauty and the Beast for this competition at Enchanted Conversation.  Please read it first, and then the info, because I want to know if it makes any sense without a lengthy explanation (which kind of defeats the purpose a bit).


It is our season, Wolfskin
of frost and snow.
They would leave us alone.
The children snow-tumbled in their winter coats and
       did not yet know the word ‘accursed’.

My children.
My heart’s blood.
These long years without you my one respite from pain is this.
You did not live to see our sons
forsake their honest pelts
       for the bloodied skins of slaughtered kin.
The wild in their eyes has dulled and only watchful fear remains.

I dream I run beside you barefoot.
You taught me to run
       to laugh
       to howl the moon down.
To Live.
You taught me how to snarl and fight.
I have needed that these past years.
And to think they pitied me once.

Outside is the smell of snow falling
       your den brothers calling in the low hills.
I ache to fill my lungs
with bright cold air.
But the priests have barred the window,
filled the room with choking incense,
and I am too weak to fight them now.
Our whispering sons grey shadows in the cloying heat
       and I hear the word “repent”.

As if I would one day regret.
You gave me back my voice, my body, my rage, my self.
These things no woman owned.
Asked nothing but compassion in return.
But love is a wild thing
       it grows where it pleases
       not in neatly ploughed rows.
I loved a wild thing and found my own wild soul.

Let them mutter their prayers, Wildheart
I will not repent.
This charade of bell, book and candle will
be done soon enough.
The curtains drawn around my bed
       the candles snuffed.
As my sons stand, relief belies their down-bowed heads.
And the priests cross themselves at the smile on my mouth.

I will not be here.
I will be running
       barefoot in the low hills.
Your soft soundless feet padding beside me
       in the frozen dawn.

If you checked out the link, you'll know the theme was 'Beauty and the Beast, the 50th Wedding Anniversary:  How did the marriage turn out?"  My poem is a little melancholy, imagining Beauty lying on her deathbed surrounded not by friends, but people trying to get her to repent her years spent with the Beast.  I can imagine that her marriage to the Beast was not the unforgivable sin, but rather her love for him.  If she had remained the 'poor woman married to a monster', stayed the compliant wife, and martyr to 'good womanhood' who could be held up as a convenient example of how a woman should behave (ie. obedient to her husband no matter how awful he is), she would have been declared a saint.  But she fell in love with the Beast and learnt to be wild and willful.  Unacceptable to her society.  True to form, I had the idea floating around in my head for several days, but didn't get around to actually trying to write it until the last minute, and send it off rather rough and unpolished.  It didn't make the grade, but I still like the idea and think it's worth tinkering with a bit more.  What do you think?  Does it make sense without all the explanation?  Does it convey her love for the wild man she's lost and her disdain for the priests and her disappointing sons?

As for the "Green Jack", he's looking disturbingly like Colin Farrell which is a) annoying because I don't WANT him to, and b) weird because I didn't use Colin Farrell as a reference!  But I've put the acrylic washes/glazes on now (pics tomorrow) and he doesn't look quite so much like him as he did just in the pencil.  The experiment seems to be working ok, except you have to be careful with the pencil onto the canvas and use a really light hand, as it goes on quite dark and it's harder to get the subtlety in shading that you can get on paper.  After the pencil, I gave it a couple of very light coats of spray varnish just to stop the pencil from smudging.  Seemed to work quite well, and the acrylic colour went over the varnish fine, so I think the technique has promise.  Needs some more exploration I think.


Richard Jesse Watson said...

Nice sketch, Mermaid. It will take on a life of its own once you go in with color. And gorgeous poem. The wildness is right under the surface bristling. Great stuff.

Patricia Ariel said...

oh, your pencil on canvas came out so good!!! it looks so amazing!!! I am jealous!!! mwahhhhhh

Windsongs and Wordhoards said...

I love the poem... it very much comes across to me as you explained, I like the melancholy regret, her defiant disdain of the priests and her son's paths, and I like the sense of savage joy when she talks of the wild and her beast lover...

Valerianna said...

Very much like the poem.... and I could even almost see a couple of wolf ears peeking out from "Green Jack's" head... a couple of strands of hair suggesting ears... who knows, I have foxes and wolves on my mind these days as well!

Anonymous said...

I do not know you(beyond this blog), but I suspect there are women (maybe many women) who think like this as their years close.I certainly do.

Brittany said...

I absolutely love the poem, wow :).

Anne Mackle said...

I have just found your lovely blog when searching for blogs with unusual titles for a post on my own blog. I love your poem and the story behind it you should have taken first prize in any competition. Your paintings and drawings are amazing and I will mention your blogs name in my post maybe more people in the uk will read your blog and see your lovely paintings.

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