Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Leaves and leavings in Carpelan's Shadowland

Carpelan's Shadowland, by Vivi-Mari Carpelan
I was pleased to take part this week in a reading of poetry inspired by some stunning prints in an exhibition at the wonderful Mid-Wales Arts Centre, near Newtown, Powys.

I chose this multilayered image by Vivi-Mari Carpelan to work with, and produced the poem below.

Some 25 poets wrote new work as a result of this exhibition, and their poems can be seen alongside the pictures that inspired them. The show is at Mid-Wales Arts Centre until May 5th, 2019; and will transfer to Aberystwyth Arts Centre later before going on tour to other venues.

Here's my poem from the project:

Leaves and leavings

Her memories are fragments
taken from a wreckage of smashed mirrors,
pieced back together
so that her recollections
are only reflections of each other.

Misremembered pieces
imitate but falsify
and she no longer understands
that what she recalls
are only distorted images.

Layers of shadow on shadow
show that nothing is what it seems –
not in the past or present.
She weaves the spectres
of mis-shapen memories into tapestry

makes a new collage
layer on layer
angular fragment on fragment
and she looks through
a window, but sees

into a twisted looking glass,
her view veiled
by an apparition of herself.
Still she sees leaves,
even among winter bare trees…

leaves and phantoms of leaves,
remembrance of leavings;
and he is there, his silhouette
down there among the gravestones.
She watches where he looks

but whatever he remembers,
whatever he sees,
his memories and recollections
are obscured by light.

For more info about the 'Inspired' exhibition see also:

Vivi-Mari's website:

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