Bio Note: Many years ago I was on what I believed to be a sabbatical year in Italy, during which I did a lot of traveling, loitering and dreaming. I wrote a lot of poems that year, among them a sheaf of meditations on art. None of them have ever been published, and most of them are probably not very good, but there are a few curiosities I wouldn't be unhappy to share with others.
I am like one of those Japanese paintings of a mountain, and a solitary man walking, propped upon a little stick. All around him are dangerous canyons, terrible waterfalls, unstable passages. Maybe there is even a little bridge of bamboo and reeds, just strong enough to carry him across the river. But to where? He is far from home and eats only at the tables of strangers. He sleeps in the woods, unafraid of tigers, a friend to monkeys and snakes alike. Yes, I am like one of those paintings one finds in the museum, in a room with other paintings, each one like the next. People stop to look at them, then move on not noticing the man on the mountain whose very life is in mortal danger but only the prettiness of the trees whose twisted roots weaken the traveler.
We trace the poet through his poems as a hunter tracks his prey through footprints in the snow. We stumble through ravines thick with branches, and with difficulty climb the steep hillsides neglected and overgrown. The poet moves like a tiger; these are his woods, his hills. Our compass is useless. Exhausted, we return from the hunt with fables of adventure of how we almost captured that prey of preys, the poet.
©2020 Marc Alan Di Martino
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