A cool rush of flagrant defiance
Unlocks a chain of misdemeanors
That fall from my tongue in a fevered cadence
My soliloquy goes uncharted
In this forest of layered beasts
Whose fragrant alliance has put me up to the mischief
I have fallen at the feet
Of one cleansing breath
That has choked the life from subjugation to rules that loathe exceptions
And I have taken flight on improbable wings
Where am I?
In the sea…floating…gracefully
Having left my shore, my home, my beginning –
I am here floating
Counting on the great watery vastness
because nothing else counts
There is no future or past
that can measure against this moment of birth,
this gem of becoming,
this blossoming under the moon
There is no structure made of earth or time
that can define boundaries of love
No words to describe what it means now
What you ask of me is too small
The sea is full of air
the air is full of sea
the cosmos full of rocks and stones
that are full of atoms, full of particles, full of space
Where is there an end or a corner to pin love to
and say, “this is how high,” or, “this is how deep,” or, “this is how long?”
You ask too little of me
I love you more greatly than this
A river of stars finds me dreaming
Inviting space to sculpt stone into waves
Where river and red sea meet
Where so-called laws of physics
Are tossed into depths unknown
And shadows bear witness
To blood and tears fueling the mallet
The chisel strike sparking points of illumination
Into thin air
To be held aloft in a vacuum
And doling out all
In a lucidity of timelessness
That gazes into the density of my abyss
And calls me beloved
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?
I am asked and answered
Beleaguered jasmine trill of longing
Snake smoke trail seducing sway
Beguiling smile descending
Swing upending the cause
Bemused and bespoke
I am exactly as ordered
Dyed crimson and bordered
In sailcloth and wind
And nothing untangles the fragrant cry of desire
The sea sprayed reaching
For fire aloft
From hands singed with elation to remain
We came out of a land
Rich with harmony and sacrifice
We built legends and legacies
And threw fire from our fists
Unto the firmament
We brought down gods upon our heads
We sought shelter in their arrogance
Devoured our fear like ripened fruit
And this is how we nourished our souls
Grew teeth in our throats to imprison them
Behind voices made lame by our dinner
Our hearts grew thinner
And our chests spanned wide
To shield and conceal our labouring breath
Convinced of our impending death
But our souls
Trapped in our breasts
Heaved through our skin
The immortal summons
It was September when I brought home these uncommonly dark, richly coloured Stargazers. Within days, the blooms were gone. I planted the bulbs in the garden, and all winter I waited.
The lilies became a symbol for my own internal transitions. Unidentified potential skulking about in me. Restless and impatient with containment, angry and eager to burst. Bruised by the longing to be.
And at the same time, a growing sense of all that is alive in the universe that we do not see. Reading about experiments in physics demonstrating that light is sentient and, in its way, senses us. Waits in its own state of potential for us to choose and take part in the co-creation of what is and what will be.
Awaiting warmth of sun
Churning deep plum
Like a bruise
A cold and soundless
Waiting with hint of light
For scent of night
Alive with bloom