(Stories) Poetry| Storm

Study in oil and water

Study in oil and water
Rhian Brynjolson

This poem,
written by Gerry Wolfram,
is a poet’s response
to Rhian Brynjolson‘s
Study in oil and water.

Storm a constant backdrop,
climate menacing
as anger of the young ones
occupies the sky exposing
dark cloudbanks.
Who can blame them, bravely pitching
tents against the reign of greed?

One young figure finds a way
to stay afloat against the sucking tide.

“Pull out all you have,” she says,
“bind it together to make
yourself a buoyant raft.

Retrieve the peach silk of your wedding
dress and peg it to your own yard arm
to catch the wind
of possibility.

Think only on protecting what remains,
what can be salvaged.
The thing with feathers – hope –
is folded in upon itself,
its body slack and slimed
with oily waste.

But gather up its fractured form,
wipe clean each wing,
align each feather

Although the beaded
oil is eddying around you,
shining like false pearls,
tie back your hair, put on
a muscle shirt and gather up
what’s left
– the pelican
your flag
and caritas
your dwelling place,
your tent.
Set out
into the storm
and gather up
your broken hopes.”

*The pelican is an ancient symbol of sacrifice, of caring or caritas. As the story goes, the pelican tears flesh from its own breast to feed its hungry young.
*Emily Dickinson wrote: “Hope” is the thing with feathers.”

Talking Water Project|Stories

Talking Water Project|Gerry Wolfram

Talking Water Project|Rhian Brynjolson

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