Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September 14th

The Steps of the Met are really a confusing place to meet anyone, but thanks to cell phones I managed to find Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick there. Shannon is a fellow Sarah Lawrence Grad, a poet, photographer and fellow member of a writing group.

We started off with a long photo taking wander in the European painting gallery. We started to write in the same room that Lauren Hilger and I wrote in on the second of September, we then moved to Gallery 20: Tiepolo, and finally drifted to the European Sculpture Court.

I actually wrote the poem I am posting today in the first room, Gallery 30, after a painting by Pietro Testa entitled Alexander the Great Rescued from the River Cydnus. It is my first legitimate Ekprahstic poem although it is more about the story of Alexander then about the painting itself. Shortly after completing the painting Testa drowned in the Tiber, apparently a suicide.


It was just a river
in Tarsus, a place
to spend the night
on a long campaign.

The retreating Persians,
reduced to distant tents,
the scurry of soldiers.
Alexander's men resting
before victory.

Alexander went to Cydnus
to wash the blood
from his body.

Water was nothing new to him.
He had yet to cross the Ganges,
may never have, but Aristotle
taught him to swim
a boyhood ago, time
a Gordian knot.

His body, familiar with waves,
froze in the water,
abruptly did not belong
to his mind.

Sinking body rescued
by an attendant. Crown,
shards of pottery, saved.

Day of the Week: Tuesday
Occupancy of Museum: Moderately busy
Arrived at: 12:00
Departed at: 2:15
Read on Commute: I finished The Black Dahlia (I was unsatisfied with the ending but otherwise very much enjoyed it).

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