Circumscribed: The Poem

I write you running, first.
I sit at a small table, in a one-room cottage
alone, waiting.

But you – you are running.
Running at full sprint; away.
Beneath you is a gravel road.
Beside you is a beech forest, and a river
Ahead of you is the lake.

You run for it.

I am at the table.
I look at my hands.
Small delicate, ladies hands, I suppose.
Designed for embroidery and poems.
Not this rough cottage and it’s dirty pails.

There is an ink stain on my right hand.

I say “Der Zeigefinger.”

You are running the radii,
Aspiring for the circumference.
This edge of our existence,
the magic circle of our biography.
You are always running away from me.

I say “Am Anfang war die Tat.”
[In the Beginning was the Act.]

Singularity
Singularity [Gold and Ink on Paper, 2016, G.Barnes]

 

Events happen to you. Drama! It is yours.
Not mine. I just watch you, from this table.

And then there’s her. That terrible demi-god.
Inscribing us both. Defining our 360.
You cannot escape her clumsy manoeuvrings
– but I will not let her move me.

I will remain. Seated at this table.

Knock! Knock! Knock!
I say “Enter”
Three full fat bodies fill the door frame.
Framed by my eye. The frame of this film.
The three of them, who demand toll.

Those three detainers.

TRI
Tri [Walnut Ink on Paper, 2016, G.Barnes]
A shiny button, a silver medal, a yellow ribbon.
Big fat hands clasp pieces of parchment.
Dirty boots. A muddy print on my clean hearth.
The fire smokes, splutters in small protest.

I say “With what mandate have you come”
They wave their piece of paper. Inscribed with royal insignia.
“War Regulations. Enemy Aliens.
Detained at the discretion of the Minister of Defence.”

They say things that I don’t [won’t] hear properly.
“Close your business… report to the police station for registration … 20 miles ….”
“no communication with enemy country.”

“Enemy Alien.”

Enemy Alien
I am an Enemy Alien [Gold and Ink on Paper, 2016, G.Barnes]

I just say
“Rennen!”

You are running.

I take a map. And a compass.
I draw an X. This is where I am.
I draw a circumference. 20 miles from X.

This is where Others, have allowed Us to be.
The extent of our [current] existence.

There is the edge, just ahead. In the fog.
The circle on the map.
Darkness, darker fog, outside of this.

Try not to forget. Try to remember me.

So, let us concern ourselves with the boundary

We are now spread out to the very edge,
it is our complete.

You stand on the edge, your toes curled over the rim.
it is a deep dark endless cavern, you think.

it is separating –

but it is strengthening –

it supplies the form of me [the mater/matter]
it lets you see me more clearly [the pater/pattern]

circum_nov_9_sq
Descent  [Gold and Ink on Paper, 2016, G.Barnes]

Cross the desolate.
The flattened ruin littered with debris,
shipwrecks, razor-wire and mud.
The same cottage, different landscape.
The lake has gone, the trees have gone, the forest disappeared.

You can see my cottage.
My window is glowing by candlelight.

And there I am, at the window.
Looking back at you.
Our eyes meet, for the first time?

To be sure, this place of crossing is frightening,
–to you.

It’s depth is great, it’s height is staggering.
Let us be of a single mind and
without hesitation, pass by, please.

Pass over the boundary.
Do not look back.

It is reflection.

I hear you knock.
You are knocking.

I will let You in.

© Gaylene Barnes, 2017

I WRITE YOU RUNNING
I Write you Running [Gold and Ink on Paper, 2016, G.Barnes]

How to Depict the Heavenly

“The method of Divine revelation is twofold; one, indeed, as is natural, proceeding through likenesses that are similar, and of a sacred character, but the other, through dissimilar forms, fashioning them into entire unlikeness and incongruity. No doubt, the mystical traditions of the revealing Oracles sometimes extol the august Blessedness of the super-essential Godhead, as Word , and Mind , and Essence , manifesting its Godbecoming expression and wisdom, both as really being Origin, and true Cause of the origin of things being, and they describe It as light , and call it life. While such sacred descriptions are more reverent, and seem in a certain way to be superior to the material images, they yet, even thus, in reality fall short of the supremely Divine similitude. For It is above every essence and life. No light, indeed, expresses its character, and every description and mind incomparably fall short of Its similitude. But at other times its praises are supermundanely sung, by the Oracles themselves, through dissimilar revelations, when they affirm that it is invisible , and infinite , and incomprehensible ; and when there is signified, not what it is, but what it is not.”

From: The Celestial Hierarchy Dionysius the Areopagite (1st or 5th Century), Works (1899) vol. 2. p.1-66.

Dionysius is a great read for artists with a desire to depict the ‘super-essential’. In this article he ponders the many manners in which the Divine Godhead is revealed. Positing that a revelation as light, sun, stars, and fire and flowing water may be very reverent, but it is too obvious and therefore mundane, falling short of the true essence. He compares these to the supra-rational depictions, such as those clothed ‘in forms of wild beasts, and … identity with a Lion, and Panther, and say that it shall be a Leopard , and a rushing Bear … or even a worm’. (Dionysius, pg. 3). He claims that these undefined and dissilimar forms of holy things are apt in that one cannot rest in the thought that this image is true or even close to being true of God.

Angel wings; parachutes
St Michael approaches
Rockets land softly.

NASA litters the solar system, detritus.
Little sparks of Sophia, thrown out in human souls.

St Michael and the Super Sonic Parachute [Pigment Watercolour and Gold on Paper, 2014]
St Michael and the Super Sonic Parachute [Pigment Watercolour and Gold on Paper, 2014]

“… and so Divine things should be honoured by the true negations, and by comparisons with the lowest things, which are diverse from their proper resemblance. There is then nothing absurd if they depict even the Heavenly Beings under incongruous dissimilar similitudes, for causes aforesaid.”

Full article: The Celestial Hierarchy

Two Wills

"The Eighth Day"
“The Incomprehensible Womb” [G.Barnes. Egg tempera and gold on board. 30 x 22cm]
There are two wills. I abandon all others.

1,
The WILL of Sophia:
To SEEK for the Truth.
To never rest until she has found her Beloved.

2,
The WILL of Christ:
To REVEAL Truth realised.
To make plain, this is the art.