The doors of perception


                            Door, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

“If the doors of perception
were cleansed
every thing would appear to man
as it is, Infinite.

For man has closed himself up,
till he sees all things
thro’ narrow chinks
of his cavern.”

William Blake
from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790-93)

The painting illustrating today’s text is a reading of Willem de Kooning’s A door to the sea, held at the Whitney Museum in New York. It is perfectly legitimate for one painter to base a painting on an existing work by another artist. Think of the plethora of nativity or crucifixion scenes in Renaissance art. In its own way, a door may represent a nativity or a crucifixion.

Ways of looking

Ways of looking

Poetry is a way
         of looking at the world
of scrutinising the world
         in all its facets
the world and its shadow
         its black clouds
and its bleached bones
         as well as the flowers
and the trees
         and their shadows

a man a woman
         and a blackbird
and their shadows
         a verbal cross-examination
of what is seen and felt
         and thought and touched
the pursuit of truth
         and beauty

momentary beauty
         immortalized in the mind
of mortal flesh
         So much depends
upon this unique art
         a red wheelbarrow
or a Grecian urn
         so much depends
on the energies harnessed

the bird a nest
         the spider a web
man poetry
         one crystal-cut word
in relation to another
         the fraternal art
that brings daffodils
         and roses
and a blackbird whistling
         that throws off
the cowl of winter
         and ushers in love

Beauty is dangerous
         as it is troublesome
the embodiment of truth
         in the memory
it defies all oppression
         defies all oppressors
and refuses to take no
         for an answer

John Lyons