Monday, February 13, 2017

Jeff Skewes #6 Silk on the Road - Prelude

Intro to #6

Continuing my minor epic Silk on the Road I offer this piece after the intro 1-5 poems, which have introduced the journey, I call Silk on the Road which now must begin. I imagine this #6 piece as a prelude to the journey proper.
My plan for 52 was and still is to create / rework some 2016 /366 material to develop my broader idea of a journey that takes place (only) somewhat autobiographically during an inexact time set across the imaginary lands (that part-mimic those of the fabled Silk Road, hence the series title - although please think more magic-realism than historical and geographic truth) in order to form a more lucid narrative.

It's a 'road-movie' in a way, with allegorical references to my personal awakening, although the quest (of that) seems more to the truth.

I use images because these are either created for or because of the theme. It is intended my poems accompany the paintings and or vice versa.

Back to this 'prelude' ...after setting the sights and establishing a 'before / a past ' (#1-5) I aim here to declare my intentions to finally start the journey. In the last poem#5 an apparition presents and now there is no turning back etc...#6 Prelude hopefully speaks to the absolute necessity to proceed from the 'vision' of #5

I am unsure of this #6 ending – is it too swift, unclear etc / does it allow for it's next 'chapter.'..poem?
What of its middle and the overall rhythm pace?

The sacred has a way of concealing true meaning

in revered walls and glittering ornaments
ancient pages barely lit rooms
chimes, bells, softly chanted verses
is a conspiracy to blind acuity

until progress toward some elegance of what I speak of

some ancient chamber or forgotten ruin excavated
do those candles, flowers and incense become
anything existent, reborn promising more
than the thought of a lunch-time tale

commences without a map without a mask

in a darkness only a youth would conjure
beyond forests, seas, the deserts and dead ends
who slept rough in parks in-between couches here
there is nothing, no team no religion no teacher

still and stranded onstage timbers creak

each one-step a history, a battle neither won nor lost
below the law nothing can be said, of despair
finale's curtain's up audience gone only actors remain
no sound flowers art or poetry

so begin this divine comic tragedy The Iliad and Monkey

travel with their Sutras chanting the pilgrim's song
boil lead from gold making smooth the rough
navigate by braille, clouds and fugitive perfumes
trailing whispers of alive mystery adventure

silk on the road

image: Silk on the Road,   installation 2016 detail 1. Desert sand rice paper silk synthetic polymer paint ink clay flower petals perspex canvas / jskewes


  1. Love the visual. I think that the ending is perfect. It’s a bit heady but I think that fits the theme. The only thing I’m not sure about is The Iliad and the Monkey. The Dante reference might be enough in one hit.

  2. Thanks Magdalena ... I see your Dante point.

    I still feel uneasy regarding the momentum...

  3. Wow! the visual is really great! to my eyes and understanding, the unfolding of the poem is Ok, and I can see or even hear the "prelude" you've spoken about in your introduction. What stroke my mind is about the first line: is really "true meaning" what you wanted to say? is this hidden meaning truer than others? or simply linked and related to another layer or depth or domain of "reality"? I wonder! this ""true" word is very offensive to me I must confess! As for Magdalena's remark concerning Dante and the Iliad and the Monkey ... I would say either add other references as a list (and it could be humorous, I mean offbeat humor),or just keep one because we understood from the beginning what's at stake.

  4. Thank you for those critical points Béatrice.
    You are right, one can easily overate the truth (especially a 'truer' one). It's a simple trap so off with its head! :)
    Your remarks and observations referencing the variants of a Pilgrims journey is invaluable too! I will amend with something clearer here soon …