{Wed 28 February 2007}   Leadership

Last night I was browsing through some of my thought-blurts and almost-poems and found this picture-poem combination. I recalled that I had been in a workshop where I made the picture first in response to some classical music (unfortunately, I forget which now) and then the poem in response to the picture. One of the things I couldn’t decide was which way up I preferred the picture, so that’s part of the theme!

One day this may become a standalone poem, but it needs further development. There’s just something about it that I like… I hope there’s enough here to catch your imagination too.

Sword of Damocles AboveSword of Damocles


Am I emergent or exhumed,
Birthed or rebirthed,
Now dangling below,
Now arched above
Damocles’ sword?

With hair root-startled
And sucked-in stomach,
Breath whisked away
By words yet unformed,
Briefly balanced,
But naked,
In thought’s blue waters,

Is it with rhythm and poise
Or by sweet accident
That I somersault
(am catapulted)
over today’s death?

Do I swim under that sword,
Or is it beneath me?
Is this my dagger that I see before me?
No matter.
Tomorrow, a thousand deaths await me.

mumbaiKar says:

Who knows
When or
It will strike.
I am afraid
of Life.
Death is Okay;
It will strike
only once.


Tia says:

Beautiful poem, mumbaiKar! Life is indeed frightening (to me, at least), even when I see its awesome wonder, partly because of all the “deaths” it takes for me to engage with it – growing so often seems to involve dying to deeply cherished expectations, hopes, beliefs and relationships.

Joel says:

Death is the biggest truth of life.

Tia says:

Well, after life itself, that is.

The picture reminds me of some of Blake illuminations.

Tia says:

Wow, I hadn’t realised that, but I see what you mean, and I’ll take it as a compliment, thanks! I made the image without any conscious references, but last year I almost drooled over a Folio Society edition of Blake’s illustrations and, although my “artistry” is nothing like his, I suppose there is some similarity with his lines and colours that are somehow naive while they reach for ethereal elegance.

love the way you are enriching your blog. The images definitely add new interest. And I like the way you bring poetry that is””incomplete,” that is still in process so you legitimize all poetic efforts rather than distancing the reader with notions of perfect art.

I also love the sudden change in the writers experience in the Song and Dance poem. And the lovely humour. Nice!

Tia says:

Ruth, thank you for your comments re the images and the incomplete poetry. It’s encouraging to me that you do like it, because I have a few more like that. It takes a long time for me to bring some poems to completion and I don’t want to wait another ten or fifteen years before feeling that anything I have is worth sharing! Glad you liked Song and Dance too.

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