Sometimes a Wild God

A friend sent me a link to this poem by Tom Hirons (below) a few months ago, and I’ve found myself going back to it from time to time to re-read it. I really love it. I’m sure you will too.

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Sometimes a Wild God

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine.

When the wild god arrives at the door,
You will probably fear him.
He reminds you of something dark
That you might have dreamt,
Or the secret you do not wish to be shared.

He will not ring the doorbell;
Instead he scrapes with his fingers
Leaving blood on the paintwork,
Though primroses grow
In circles round his feet.

You do not want to let him in.
You are very busy.
It is late, or early, and besides…
You cannot look at him straight
Because he makes you want to cry.

The dog barks.
The wild god smiles,
Holds out his hand.
The dog licks his wounds
And leads him inside.

The wild god stands in your kitchen.
Ivy is taking over your sideboard;
Mistletoe has moved into the lampshades
And wrens have begun to sing
An old song in the mouth of your kettle.

‘I haven’t much,’ you say
And give him the worst of your food.
He sits at the table, bleeding.
He coughs up foxes.
There are otters in his eyes.

When your wife calls down,
You close the door and
Tell her it’s fine.
You will not let her see
The strange guest at your table.

The wild god asks for whiskey
And you pour a glass for him,
Then a glass for yourself.
Three snakes are beginning to nest
In your voicebox. You cough.

Oh, limitless space.
Oh, eternal mystery.
Oh, endless cycles of death and birth.
Oh, miracle of life.
Oh, the wondrous dance of it all.

You cough again,
Expectorate the snakes and
Water down the whiskey,
Wondering how you got so old
And where your passion went.

The wild god reaches into a bag
Made of moles and nightingale-skin.
He pulls out a two-reeded pipe,
Raises an eyebrow
And all the birds begin to sing.

The fox leaps into your eyes.
Otters rush from the darkness.
The snakes pour through your body.
Your dog howls and upstairs
Your wife both exults and weeps at once.

The wild god dances with your dog.
You dance with the sparrows.
A white stag pulls up a stool
And bellows hymns to enchantments.
A pelican leaps from chair to chair.

In the distance, warriors pour from their tombs.
Ancient gold grows like grass in the fields.
Everyone dreams the words to long-forgotten songs.
The hills echo and the grey stones ring
With laughter and madness and pain.

In the middle of the dance,
The house takes off from the ground.
Clouds climb through the windows;
Lightning pounds its fists on the table.
The moon leans in through the window.

The wild god points to your side.
You are bleeding heavily.
You have been bleeding for a long time,
Possibly since you were born.
There is a bear in the wound.

‘Why did you leave me to die?’
Asks the wild god and you say:
‘I was busy surviving.
The shops were all closed;
I didn’t know how. I’m sorry.’

Listen to them:

The fox in your neck and
The snakes in your arms and
The wren and the sparrow and the deer…
The great un-nameable beasts
In your liver and your kidneys and your heart…

There is a symphony of howling.
A cacophony of dissent.
The wild god nods his head and
You wake on the floor holding a knife,
A bottle and a handful of black fur.

Your dog is asleep on the table.
Your wife is stirring, far above.
Your cheeks are wet with tears;
Your mouth aches from laughter or shouting.
A black bear is sitting by the fire.

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine
And brings the dead to life.

 

More Picasso…

Grande Baigneuse au livre (Large bather with a book), 1937

Grande Baigneuse au livre (Large bather with a book), 1937

I’ve had Picasso on my mind this week, and decided I’d post some more of his artwork to satisfy my hungry eyes.

Seated Nude, Her Head Leaning on Her Hand from Vollard Suite, 1934

Seated Nude, Her Head Leaning on Her Hand from Vollard Suite, 1934

Portrait de Marie-Thérèse de Face, 1934

Portrait de Marie-Thérèse de Face, 1934

Le Repos du Sculpteur et la Sculpture Surréaliste , 1933

Le Repos du Sculpteur et la Sculpture Surréaliste , 1933

REMBRANDT À LA PALETTE, 1934

REMBRANDT À LA PALETTE, 1934

Sculpteur et Modele debout from La Suite Vollard, 1933

Sculpteur et Modele debout from La Suite Vollard, 1933

Tête de femme (Head of a Woman), 1921

Tête de femme (Head of a Woman), 1921

Winter Trees

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Walking up in the hills at night a week or so ago, I decided to sit down on a large tree that had fallen over. My knee starts to get a little sore after a couple miles, especially in the cold. An old injury. I was looking at the the trees standing up in front of and across from me, and I swear three of those trees kind of merged together and made a face that seemed to be looking back. I had to blink and look again, and yep, it was still there. I got up and walked around, but that giant face kept a-looking on… it seemed clear as could be to me.

It had something to do with the moonlight shining down on the light snowfall, combined with the way the branches were weaving together into each other and the dead leaves, and the rocks and bushes peaking through the negative space. Merging into a giant tree face that looked back at me.

I’ve gone back to that spot a few times since then, but whatever that face was has gotten up and moved on down the road. The moonlight is different now and its been slightly overcast, plus some of the snow has melted. The shapes in the trees are all different and no more tree-in-the-face.

Except for here in my drawing. I was working on some other project and wasn’t able to get to it for a bit, but I did want to spend a little time and draw my moonlight buddy. I finally did, and here it is.

The Eighth World

"The Eighth World" by Todd Powelson

“The Eighth World” by Todd Powelson

I’m a pretty big mythology nerd. Always have been, I guess. Even now it informs how I understand the world around me and my place in it. Mythical stories often present us with the personification of different aspects nature and natural forces, and I relate to that very well. Not because I take myth for literal truth, but because I believe myth can point us toward elusive “truth”, and help us understand nature and our history a little better.

I’m a bit of an animist too… well, more than just a bit… I walk through the world and see everything is alive and part of a vast living system. We’ve been taught in this post-Newtonian world that we live in a giant clock-work. A vast and complicated machine, and in a lot of ways this modern world wants us to believe we are also just some sort of bio-machines as well. But I don’t see it that way at all.

I look up to the Sun and see this giant living being. Different than me. Incomprehensible maybe, moving through and interacting with the larger Universe in a way I’ll probably never understand, but still alive.

That’s what my artwork here is trying to show.  This is Sól, Helios, or Ra… a.k.a. the Sun. And like Ra was known to do, the Sun helps create and nourish all life here on our living planet Earth.

It’s the Sun, but the firebirds are also an important part of the image. Maybe they are souls and spirits being forged in, or maybe simply passing through, the Sun. New life traveling from the Sun out into the larger solar system. I do know that the firebirds, together with the Sun, also represent the seven classical planets of the ancient world to me. And for me, that is The Eighth World.

You can buy this as a high quality 24″ x 16″ canvas print over at toddpowelson.com, or by emailing me at toddpowelson (at) comcast.net .

This is part of my “Songs from the Earth” series, and you can check out the rest of that series by clicking here.

A Happy Vista Presents: Color Land!

Color-Land

My bro-in-law, Steve Vistaunet, is a very talented fellow. Musician, artist, graphic designer, creative director, teacher… and that is just the tip of the ice-burg (the Steve-burg?). He’s also an all around good guy, entertainer, and one of the most creative people I know. If you spend any amount of time with him, you know he is usually making something. Music, a drawing, a mural…

One of those creations include his recently published coloring book, called Color Land. Hot off the press, and you can definitively get a copy now. Hours and hours of colorful fun, accompanied by Steve’s drawings! A nice reprieve from the holiday madness :)

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The Wolf

by Todd Powelson

by Todd Powelson

My artwork (above) will be hanging in the Springville Art Museum’s upcoming 30th Annual Spiritual & Religious Exhibition. The show opens this week on November 18th, with an opening reception that same night from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, and will hang until January 12, 2016.

In addition to myself, there are many other talented artists who will also have their work hanging, like my sister and brother-in-law, Tonya & Steve Vistaunet, Jeffrey Hale, Brian Kershisnik, Justin Wheatley, and many other artist that I look forward to meeting. I’m happy to be included. Stop in and check it all out!

My piece is pretty much based on the old Norse myth of the great wolf Sköll eating the sun. I’ve thought a bit about that story over the years and mulled it over in my imagination since I first read it as a little kid. This is also the first piece from my series, Songs from the Earth.

The Wolf
Was the end and a beginning.
Running free and wild,
He leapt and grabbed the
Sun between His fierce teeth.
Laughing as He chewed, flames flutter.
Firebirds spread their wings,
Streaking like comets
Across the sky.

I guess I did this artwork in part to remind myself that an act of destruction is also an act of creation. Not only out in the cosmos with the sun and stars, but also on a personal level. It’s hard to remember and see that, but I hope so.

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The Dying Gaul

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I’ve been thinking about the ancient “The Dying Gaul” for a while now and wanted to post some photos of it, from multiple angles, here on ArtDuh. It is a beautiful sculpture, and so very well done. The original Greek bronze of this sculpture was lost to time, and this is a later Roman copy of that original Greek version.

I’ve been thinking about this so much because I have an idea for some artwork that I’d like to make. A painting that will have the main figure use a similar pose. When I think about my own idea, this sculpture keeps coming to mind as good inspiration. Always good to have reference material!

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