for Rob Steenhorst the artist
some incline to travel o’er the lands, on hooves well shod, with saddles oiled
and girth straps tight,
those graceful riders stirrups measured, find their seat and with an easy rein outstretched, prepare to cover miles by night.
And so it was a man set out to ride under the rising light, the moon’s full glow in its ascent would be his totem skyward, providing him that needed long range sight .
But moons are not the only ones, affected by the ebbs and flows of heavens fickle stride.
The seas can be a wandering voyager, drunk and reeling dangerously upon the moonshine tides.
This night passed into history, the churning river mouth washed in a swell,
flooding brackish water over Spring- high river banks and pasture lands.
The water flowed across the road, that sudden sea swell sweeping upstream everything it chanced to meet, including live stock caught, then buried in the roiling sands.
The brave and hapless rider, mounted on his gaited bay, was pulled under the surge, knocked out by rocks, a prisoner tangled in debris, held down until he drowned.
A town woke up to tragedy, all counting heads of loved ones in the family,
and neighbors grabbed their boats and oars, while sirens wailed their sound.
The midnight horse-backed wanderer was finally carried out to sea, where it took three days for waves to send him back, that he might be buried properly.
But all say it was a miracle how those Thompson brothers in their little boat,
found his frightened bay six miles upstream paddling in the foam afloat.
The youngest finally tied him to the stern, and to their credit and their glory,
they rowed him back to safer shores, pure-blind-luck’s survivor of this story.
June 9, 2011
Renacer LINC Island SL
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
*please see my comment
This is the third poem of four I have promised to do for Rob Steenhorst/Rob Barber in SL. I am enjoying this challenge immensely, as the subject matter and the style of his art, pull me out of my normal poetic formats, rhyme schemes, and styles. I include here a link to a post on another website that talks a bit more about the artist and his art and how we met in SL to combine our inspirations and talents. http://cyberloom.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/love-dot/
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Men and women make plans. God, in it’s infinite wisdom…laughs it’s ass off. As it has always been….
(I can smell the well-oiled, worn saddle and it’s leather patina. This sad tale comes from many histories-many tales-many stories meant to instruct….from everyt culture…every time on Earth….)
Thank you Tube for your comment on this poem. Yes when we saddle up we never know if it might be our last ride..The fickle hand of fate this time was a horse lover it seems 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed it
Reading the poem over and over and every read opens another possible explanation. At first the rider seems an almost exemplary personification of romanticism: A rider alone with his horse, a mood that reflects the surroundings, the extrema awareness of nature. On the other he is not aware of the danger ahead. Which poses a certain naivety because the disaster that overwhelms the poem in the following sentences is not announced in the awareness of the rider. The effect of those two opposite weather condition is very strong. The experience of riding a horse, congruent with the surrounding earth tumbling over to a life threatening situation where those who are close to him loose their life in the utter chaos of a flood is extremele traumatic. A change from romanticism to the human experiences described in Galgemish epic story (the great flood) or the bible (the sin flood). So the poem sweeps takes us from the individual to much greater setting, as well as geographic (landscape, weather, flood) but also in history (as far as our knowledge can offer) That great swipe returns again to the individual: the tragic death of the rider.
Then the poem changes again, The Thomson brothers (?) appear and they find the horse and bring it back. I was puzzled by the appearign of the brothers, but by reading it again i realize it gives the calm or even stillness that overflows the human mind after the roaring chaotic disaster.
The image i made was inspired by several thoughts, visions and events that came together. The aim was to show the mutual dependence of human and animals. In the the current setting of the world things are measured by their financial value, a quite cynical attitude. This i also the case with the way animals are treated, at its best as a toy at is worst as a way to make a profit. When early humans made their cave drawings they showed, beside the hunt also the beauty and mystery other living creatures raise in hour mind. As an individual we still can be aware of that, in the way societies are constructed is no room for those ‘sentiments’
The situation in the image is both hope full and pessimistic. Hope full because of the awareness of both human and animal of mutual dependency and the will to commit to that, pessimistic because of the ‘cul-de-sac’ situation, the horse is to big and the boat is to small. The outcome of this situation is uncertain but hopefull
Book: Strawdogs John Gray
Painting: Winter, Nicolas Poussin: http://www.wga.hu > Artists > Nicolas Poussin > Late paintings > Winter
Rob Steenhorst / Rob Barber (SL)
10 june 2011
Thank you so much Rob for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and well analyzed commentary. For me, it is always the most important, that the artist enjoys and approves of my poetic take on his imagery. Many times, and most times, it will not be what he had in mind..but when art is shared to the world, the world will see it through their eyes. I guess I show I am more fond of horses than men *smiles* but what I did try to do by using a longer-lined lyrical narrative style of writing was to harmonize with the almost classical feeling of the image, the painting itself. I have enjoyed the challenge of opening myself up to your art and seeing what poetry it produces, As I said in my commentary, I too am surprised by the results. Thank you for sharing your art in SL as well as on the web. I am sure I might have missed knowing you and it, if it weren’t for the exhibition you held in-world. As I have said before, these acts of sharing and artistic collaborations, for me, is some of the best that SL offers. I appreciate your taking the time to leave this very well written comment
Lovely painting, lovely poem. A life so fragile, held in the grip of an immense and seemingly arbitrary power, saved by an even greater power, love.
Yes Chrome, love and compassion and concern can be seen here. The feeling of this painting for me is one of emotion..so I created an emotional event to build up to it. The painting caught my eye the first moment I saw it. Its classical beauty told me it had a big story hidden inside . Thank you dear friend,for reading and taking the time to leave your comment..
Oh, Kari! What a provocative ride you take us on here! And what an adventure into the many layers and nuances of art and storytelling through poetry which plays off of images. I hope you will continue to create these convergences of image, story, poetry, which are calling forth such beautiful commentaries! I am reminded of W.H. Auden’s response to the Breughel painting of “The Fall of Icarus” where both the painting and the poem are enriched by each other. As always, Bravissimo! Honors, kudos, blessings!
Thank you Happiness..you know this all started with a painting for Chrome Underwood (another dear mutual connection)..”Bang” and the explosion is still reverberating I guess. Someone called me an “Art Channeler” or an “Art Whisperer” All I know is certain paintings, or sculptures, or photos send me into words.. Rob Barber/Steenhorst has that twist I do enjoy..His work is both beautiful and enigmatic. I hope I find the words for many more:)
What an exciting painting, so lively, dramatic and open to any ending…..I`m glad, you at least saved the horse, Karima 🙂
Innocent creatures, depending on our arbitrariness…..
They are our small brothers and sisters , we should be aware of this!
Your poem intensifies the story of this picture. I can almost smell the leather, hear the flood gurgling, feel the desperation of the dying rider, can see the fear in the horse eyes and also the absolute trust in the power of these two brave men. Wonderfully done, amiga 🙂
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