acts of art 12 ~ Margaret Atwood

Maggie Atwood, author  Canada’s national treasure and a personal muse. Her novels, along with Leonard Cohen’s songs and poems, have been the words and soundtrack of my life since arriving in Canada in 1966.

What Ms. Atwood says about her creative process relates, of course, to writing. I think we can all translate her words into our own artistic language.

Margaret Eleanor Atwood  (born November 18, 1939) is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor, teacher and environmental activist. She has published seventeen books of poetry, sixteen novels, ten books of non-fiction, eight collections of short fiction, eight children’s books, and one graphic novel, as well as a number of small press editions in poetry and fiction.

Thanks to Wikipedia for bio.

The 100 #98 – Poet Mask

poetmaskHis lips are pinned to silence,

but behind the mask

the poet

speaks,

stuttering with knotted tongue,

spitting nails sometimes,

mouth burning, cracked voice off-key,

whisperings unheard

amongst traffic and crows,

and the static of stars.

 

Behind the mask,

with worn and ancient tools,

the poet mines his shadowed heart

opening bright shafts of light

through the deepest black,

transmogrifying caves

into cathedrals.

 

Part fool, part mole, part god,

he excavates the stratum of his soul,

wrestling cold rocks with bleeding hands,

always searching under stones

for elusive adjectives,

the missing metaphor,

the long-lost letter

from his dark-eyed muse.

 

Invisible in solitude

he digs from lexiconic soils

long-buried sentences,

faded phrases, corroded rhymes,

and plants them lovingly

in disheveled compost heaps

of synonyms, dank mosses,

nouns and rotted bones,

similes and verbs, fish-heads

and fractured fonts.

 

By candlelight and moon

goat footed spirits dance

on a deserted beach

with ghosts of Lorca, Eliot and Yeats

and behind his mask

the poet sorts and sifts his gleanings,

conjuring and reassembling

torn fragments of language,

for love, for truth, for madness,

his hand juggling

through clouds of unknowing

all he has to offer.

Poem and Mixed Media Painting by clinock