This painting has remained a powerful and ever-fresh source of inspiration since I bought a print of it nine years ago. That is the magic of Mary DeLave Art.
When I look at any piece of Mary’s work, the words “mystery” and “primal” leap to mind. It conjures up from within me something ancient and instinctive; something fundamental and pervasive. What is it about these paintings that is so deeply and endlessly compelling?
Is it the vibrancy of her colours, paired in such a way as to ignite themselves and each other? Maybe it’s the celebration of music, a most powerful force unseen but universally understood. Perhaps it’s the frequent presence of animals in Mary’s work, or the many wide, unwavering eyes shared by all her species that convey an intimate interconnectedness of life.
Maybe it’s the way – if you look at a DeLave painting long enough – a face you hadn’t noticed at first will often emerge, sometimes seeming part of the more obvious faces…are we separate or are we one? And perhaps there is a faint suggestion of spirits in what looks like invisible profiles kissing cheeks.
I could go on and on. Gazing at Mary DeLave’s artwork feels like an infinite process of discovery of self, of the nature of life and of something beyond. Do yourself a favour and head over to Mary’s site and feast your eyes on some gifts that just won’t stop giving!
Will you dance if I play?
Will you sing if the music knows you?
Kiss my cheek and loose yourself to the wind?
All that is promised, my friend
Is the golden rooted hum in the lumber of my guitar
And the spirit of trees weeping Spanish Moss
Echoing their deep bass on the oaky breeze
Tickling our palate for lust for life
Only this raises the palms of the dead skyward for more
Will you dance if I play?
Will you stomp the earth into resonating vibration
So that the whole world may sing
All dressed in a dream
With spiraling notions relieving the seams
This is what we came here for
Something ancient and primal
With our skin stretched across the depths
Like a drum
Will you dance if I play?
Will you spin into arms and out again?
Will you rise with a melodious eye
And spy on the whole of existence?
Its steel strung heart of persistence
Voicing the chant of sublime being
Will you dance the transcendent carnality
Into harmonious crescendo
And raise the light into ovation?
© H. Hennenburg, 5 August 2019
Thank you, Mary DeLave, for granting permission for me to share an image of Music Magic, your painting that inspired this poem!
Joyfully linking to Poets United.Copyright protected by Digiprove © 2019 H. Hennenburg
30 thoughts on “Ovation”
I LOVE the painting – such imaginative art! And your poem is glorious…….I love “will you sing if the music knows you?” And dancing transcendent carnality into harmonious crescendo. Wow.
Thank you so much, Sherry. I find all of Mary’s work incredibly appealing, imaginative and inspiring. I could probably write an entire book of poetry to the tune of her images.
A whole poetry book with my images—I would like that as I love this poem!
Hi Mary! How lovely to see you here. 🙂 That would be a fun project. One never knows what the future holds…
Thank you for introducing me to wonderful art.. I found the poem and the questions a very good way to picture the unrequited(?) love… the passion and the wish that the special someone will dance to your music…
Maybe in some cases one needs to listen if the other is playing too… there will never be dancing if everyone is playing the violin
Good observation, Bjorn. I like your take. For me, this piece is about the love for and celebration of life – urging all living beings to join in the abandon. Hopefully, someone picks up a guitar or violin, as I myself don’t play. Was just channeling Mary DeLave’s muse! 🙂
This is beautiful!! I enjoyed the way you encouraged second and third looks at the image itself and the images you brought out in the poem. It swept me back to my childhood (oak trees & Spanish moss will do that). 🙂
Yes, those Live Oaks and Spanish Moss sink under your skin on first sight don’t they? How I miss the sight of them and what they do for my soul! Thank you, Chrissa. 🙂
A richly saturate response to DeLave’s painting. The phrase “the golden rooted hum in the lumber of my guitar” strikes a long chord of memory, one of my first guitars was a nylon string classical I inherited from my mother. Her voice and that music so weaves forth in that line. Performer and audience meld in your poem and our reading of it. Amen.
Wow, I got a “Amen”! Thank you, Brendan. And thank you for sharing that lovely memory. I’m glad something here struck a chord for you.
Indeed such a beautiful piece of art; and how exciting that the artist even came to visit your page and read your poem. I am awed by that. And, as for your poem, who could refuse that invitation to dance? I can ‘hear’ the music and can feel my toes tapping!! Nice write.
Thanks, Mary. I actually contacted the artist to ask permission to post her image with my poem. Mary DeLave is a lovely person in addition to being an inspiring artist. We have exchanged several e-mails and I have really enjoyed getting to know her.
A wonderful ekphrasic poem!
Thank you, Toni!
This is utterly gorgeous! I love; “Will you dance if I play? Will you spin into arms and out again?”
Thank you, Sanaa!
Love the art work (which complements the poem, wonderfully and synergistically). Love the poem … so brimming with gusto and exuberance that it literally created its own beat for me, as I read it aloud. All-in-all: a splendiferous post!!! Thank you!
Wendy, I think I had that same beat running through my head when I wrote it. Thank you for reading and commenting and I’m glad you enjoyed it!
First, the artwork is amazing and your words compliment the work. If only we would listen to the music around us, the world would be a better place.
Truly, music could heal us all, bring us together, move us forward…if we listened, as you pointed out. Thanks for reading and commenting!
I love the intimacy and admiration in this poem – it also read like a song. One I would happily join in on!
Thank you, Jae!
For me this is a catchy poem, should I tap my feet and join in on the chorus? Mary’s painting is inviting, the little man wearing the hat wants to be a part of the act.
Will you dance (while) I play
I will be ending soon
Who will play while I dance
That person can be you
Join in any time, Jim! Thanks for reading.
first, i liked the artwork, the vibrant colours used and the contrast of colours. i think the artist is trying to tell that music is gentle (see the curves in the artwork), that music is always around us (see the face of the musician in frontal and profile).
one can come back and look at the picture again, and discover new meanings in the artwork.
Good art inspires, and i can see that in your poem. 🙂
Mary’s work does evoke so much thought and emotion; and my favourite thing about her art is that one can continually discover new things it as often as one looks. Thank you for reading and commenting!
I love art that gives out its secrets little by little after repeated viewing. What struck me about the painting was how cool and soothing the palette used was, but there was still this feeling of energy and almost rowdy joy in the lines.
I think the poem danced with that same balance of contrasts. There’s this feeling of relishing of being alive while at the same time dancing in a space that makes room for something otherworldly, something ancestral, that underscored how special the now can be.
What a wonderful observation, Rommy. Isn’t it amazing how something can be soothing and incredibly vibrant at once? I love your thoughts on my poem. Bang on! Thank you. 🙂
Thank you for introducing me to Mary‘s art! It’s so vibrant-it takes one’s breath away!
What I like the most about this painting is that I could stare at it for hours and still find something new with each passing minute.
Truly my pleasure. I think that’s my favourite thing about all of Mary’s work.
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