The Eluhim and the Tower of Nagas
Now there’s a name.
One to ponder, meditate upon,
remain in memory,
as out from a line a stone shines,
a spark glints, isolates itself,
glistens in the masonry.
The woman it belonged to
had to be someone, and she was,
chose to be a painter,
crafted dreams of worlds on canvas
for she and others to see,
to show that the further in you go,
the more will come to be.
So I came to see her works
in the Tate gallery, Liverpool, my home city,
while outside, I was aware of boats and sailing ships,
roped to capstans in the Albert Dock,
and sea gulls that cried over the Mersey.
It was her name and not her fame
that drew me to her art.
Yes, I think I get it now, surrealism.
When I was younger, I thought it was extreme,
now I know, it is not so much of dream,
but of the other world from which we are never free.
There is no divide, who can decide
on which side we stand, in our true land
or in the other world, stranger than dream
where the spirit can travel free.
Far from my birth, closer to my death,
I understand these images now.
The other world exists in the world we see.
There is no divide, it is always there.
Stood on the railway station platform,
there it is, in the faint emerald filigree,
the torn silver web in the tunnel wall I see.
They are not easy to see, some people,
said the man, looking down the lines for the train.
What he meant, I could not ask.
He never would, never could explain.
Personality is fluid, not static. I get that.
You are one person with one person,
another with another.
You never failed, you never lost,
you never touched the skin,
rather you reached within,
held the breathing heart,
cupped the unsheltered soul,
created the gentle giantess,
the guardian of the egg,
from which hatched the Eluhim,
spirits of birds and beasts,
free of the body, unhampered by its weight,
unrestricted by its structure of flesh and bone,
so the lion leaps, the white ox prances,
dances on hind legs,
a badger carries a carp to the Tower of Nagas.
There are things that are unsayable.
That’s what art is for.
They are your words. I agree.
I wanted to go where your pathway led,
where origins are known,
the unsayable is said.
You have been here too long.
Why don’t you leave?
said a voice in a video in some other room.
Yes, I will, in a while, I answered in my mind.
Further away from birth to death I go,
still search for truth, for lack of love in life I grieve.
You never called, you never wrote,
you never lifted the phone.
You built a cradle to float,
painted with birds and beasts,
and left the child to sail alone.
You never thought, you never dreamed
such an exhibition would be.
Though you are gone, look what you left behind,
your art for us to see.
You made masks for The Tempest.
You must have loved Prospero,
who conjured spirits and spoke to Ariel,
before he buried his book, broke his staff.
You found the doors, you found the locks,
you found the box that held the keys.
Outside, in the Albert Dock,
I stood, looked down upon the deck
of an anchored ship.
It was brown and had two masts,
and was called Ebu, and it said,
nothing lasts, nothing lasts,
and few sail out on the wild, wide, stretching sea,
and those that do come back with tales
we love to hear, but which of them can we say is true?
You helped me see there is no divide.
I do not have to wait for death or sleep
the other world to see.
You helped me find the door, find the lock,
find the box that hid the key