In the museum I love, we stroll and consider paintings, sculptures, and a few random examples of what passes for art in this 21st century. Weary, we sit and gaze at Stroh’s serene, soothing Sunscape – palest oils smoothed in stunning simplicity, no trace of brush or canvas, a silk veil of softest paint encircled by slim silver wire. Glow and warmth are palpable. I should have brought my parasol.
TWO FACES OF BEAUTIFUL
In his Albuquerque studio on an easel near the north window rests Howard Wexler’s stunning portrait of artist Alice Seely regal posture elegant as a queen sleek black hair in chic chignon black velvet décolleté gown a cloud of maribou encircling the neck dangling onyx earrings antique ruby pendant at her throat aura of Arpège delicate suede sandals half-full Baccarat glass of claret wistful dark eyes gazing into distance mind in Prague, Nairobi, or New York “Beautiful woman,” Howard murmurs.
At her Hondo Valley Iris Farm, on a stone bench shaded by trumpet vines and weathered wood lattice Alice Seely surveys her garden leaning forward arms akimbo — resting on her knees silver-streaked hair tied back with a scarf faded denim work shirt chinos and sturdy leather boots gray Stetson shading her lovely face pewter earrings dangling African-straw circles (her signature design) mug of black coffee cupped in her hand luminous dark eyes survey iris, poppies, roses suggest memory of soft, rich soil scent of early rains and fragrant compost “Beautiful this year,” she murmurs.
Ann Applegarth lives and writes in Roswell, New Mexico, where she served as poet-in-residence for the High Plains Writing Project at Eastern New Mexico University. The recipient of an Academy of American Poets prize at the University of New Mexico in 1980, her poems have been widely published in the small press, in online journals, and in the Linda Rael art book Living in Green Acres.
The ocean, the strand, the interaction between self and sea, between our Being in the world versus our Seeing in the world . . .
Humanity long ago left the realm of an easy oneness with Nature, but a parallel belief held on, at least through the Romantic period: women were naturally still with Her. Nature itself was feminine. Men had lost the link, but not women, and men could retain that link indirectly through women.
Women no doubt view this male construct somewhat differently. Perhaps radically so. Some may find it offensive, sad, silly, amusing, and a host of other things. But it is with us still, in our poetry and art, our music, perhaps our subconscious minds. If Jung is correct, it is a universal archetype we can not escape.
Ann’s poetry is not in answer to this, at least not on the surface. But her second poem does speak quietly of differences within her gender, of the various forms of communication, non-verbal, verbal and the attempt to control environments. In essence, we all do this. We all struggle with our place in the world and our expression of that struggle. All art, all religion, all philosophy boils down to that. An expression of the eternal anxiety of separation which hits us all at the moment of birth.
The aroma of salt-crusted roses, of mother-of-pearl, of adventure, shared its romance unwillingly with one who is no part of it.
YOU KNOW THEM AS WELL AS I DO
I never was a woman who could fling a hank of lustrous hair over her right shoulder to punctuate declarative sentences, or one who appears fragile and small when crying.
Those glossy women have the edge in life, while the rest of us struggle against the odds, groping for words to fling, words that seldom have the texture of silk or the immediacy of a gracefully executed feminine gesture.
And when we cry oh, when we cry, our bodies grow steel-like and huge, our blotched faces contort, and our discordant sobs reverberate even unto three generations.
Ann Applegarth was awarded an Academy of American Poets prize at the University of New Mexico in 1980, and her work has appeared in publications such as West Wind Review, Bellowing Ark, Sin Fron teras, The Cresset, St. Anthony Messenger, Christianity & Literature, and the anthologies Shadow and Light; Literature and the Life of Faith and Earth ships; A New Mecca Poetry Collection. She lives, writes, and administers an annual all-schools poetry contest in Roswell, New Mexico, where she is also poet-in-residence for the High Plains Writing Project at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell.
I’m currently about 120 pages into to this marvelous novel, translated from the French by Alison Anderson. A most enjoyable reflection on the human condition, class, Art, sickness, death and how we all seek our own raison d’être. More on this wonderful book later this week . . .
Wanted to welcome Ann Applegarth to Spinozablue. We have one of her fine poems on display here, and hope to present more of her visions from the southwest in the future.
I roam this world on sidewalks littered with images of violence. Maintenance crews work overtime, even on Sundays and Christmas — stout men, crawling on padded knees, scrub concrete with caustic detergent, broad steel-bristled brushes, and elbow grease. The stains remain. My satin slippers darken and fray. Each dawn finds holes worn through at least a dozen pairs — and I am merely one frail princess, attired for skipping down streets of polished gold.
— by Ann Applegarth
Ann Applegarth was awarded an Academy of American Poets prize at the University of New Mexico in 1980, and her work has appeared in publications such as Sin Fronteras, St. Anthony Messenger, West Wind Review, Bellowing Ark, Christianity & Literature, and Denali, and the anthologies Shadow and Light: Literature and the Life of Faith, Earthships: A New Mecca Poetry Collection, and Along the Rio Grande. She lives, writes, and administers an annual all-schools poetry contest in Roswell, New Mexico. To view some more of Ann’s poetry on-line, visit the following sites: ; ;