Niamh Clune

Environment, poetry, comment, children's books,

Wednesday Poetry Corner With Aprilia Zank

Aprilia Zank

Aprilia Zank

One of our favourites to the Wednesday Poetry Corner is Aprilia Zank. I asked her to send us a poem that had been inspired by another poem. She has given us this marvelous piece inspired by one of T.S. Eliot’s great poems “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” You can listen to  T. S. Eliot read his own poem HERE:

Thank you so much to Aprilia for being our gracious guest today and to Steve Garside for providing the great art! Steve Garside

‘Courtesy of Steve Garside’

skin eyes 

A Poem from a Poem
by Aprilia Zank

And I have known the eyes already, known them all

eyes that watch you
from behind a mask
or a blind
to penetrate your mind
to screen your perceptions
decode your intentions
to grab you and devour
at the Satyr’s hour
to tear you open
for the pearl
inside your shell
to yell
behind the grinning guise
you wear on the stage
when you crave
for applause
for devotion
for the otherness of emotion

and you
and you
and you

you who bury your flesh
behind your carcass of metaphors
who carve on reiterations of home
while time gnaws at your doors
you who roam on beaches
where men stand high
and alone
lost in tidal worship
while paper ships
fight a futile war

and I have known those eyes
eyes burning your skin
slugs crawling on your thighs
trails weaving nests
between your breasts
breath ablaze to the core
tissue screaming for more
roundness aching for the cup of hands
while floods drown the stage
invade your cage
my cage
and rage
falls back from locked doors
like trapped birds knocking against
in vain attempts
to evade

The statement, “Art engenders art,” has been interpreted (and misinterpreted!) in widely different ways. Notoriously misunderstood, among many others, also the quote attributed to Picasso, which says, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” Consequently, plagiarists of all kinds have felt entitled to copy (and paste!), and put their names under other people’s creative efforts.

In the realm of literature, one of the most pertinent discourses on this topic was formulated by T. S. Eliot:

“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest.”

(Eliot, T.S., “Philip Massinger,” The Sacred Wood, New York:, 2000)

Eliot’s utterance is clear and resolute, it needs no further interpretation. There is no legal ‘stealing’ in literature or the arts, there is just transposition of themes, motives or single elements from one work of art into a new, unique one, supposed to be at least different if not better – in good old wording, it all is about inspiration. Eliot himself did it in a most successful way and his literary work has been challenge and inspiration for many a generation of writers and poets.

Having dealt extensively with his masterpiece “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” in my doctoral thesis, it became virtually coercive to me to write a poem inspired by it. Furthermore, the encounter with the painting titled “Eliot” by the poet and artist Steve Garside, with whom I have collaborated on various art and poetry projects, rounded out my mental imagery which was to be moulded into the final poem. This is an optimal illustration of the manyfold interaction between different creative fields and artistic media. We paint with words, convey poetry through music or colours, efface the borders between genres. Artists of all kind ‘steal’ from one another, but only in a metaphorical sense, only to create something new, something better and more original.

About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books.

6 comments on “Wednesday Poetry Corner With Aprilia Zank

  1. Jenean Gilstrap
    January 21, 2015

    a beautiful piece aprilia! it was lovely reading and re-reading! thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Suzanne McMillen-Fallon
    January 22, 2015

    Metaphysical is a word used by humankind, in attempting to understand whom one is: in having to accept mankind is material and spiritual, in life’s present equation. Desiring to grasp the unreality of materiality, at the same time, in the same plane of existence. As if looking into the mind of his creator, something bigger than themselves. Infinite Mind.

    Thank you, Dr. Clune, for an excellent post: Defining Metaphysical Literature.


  3. Suzanne McMillen-Fallon
    January 22, 2015

    Good poetry, Aprilia Zank.


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This entry was posted on January 21, 2015 by in Poetry and tagged , , , , , , .
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