Yesterday’s poem which I wrote tonight is called “Of a Different Color,” based on Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin’s 1912 painting The Bathing of the Red Horse (the picture at the link is not nearly as vibrant and startling as the print on the postcard is, unfortunately), a very beautiful, but strange image of a naked man riding a horse that dominates almost 2/3 of the picture. What I know about Russian art could fill a soupspoon (there’s a shocker), so here is an interesting quote about the painting that I found by Molly Priesmeyer in her article “A Horse of a Different Color: Politics and Aesthetics Collide at the Museum of Russian Art”:
. . . the rich colors in Petrov-Vodkin’s famous 1912 The Bathing of the Red Horse, a painting that offers an ominous foreshadowing of the Soviet future (the red horse stares at the viewer, rising above the world), are surreal or even Chagallesque. The 62- by 72-inch painting is one of the first things you’ll see when entering the newly transformed Spanish-revival Mayflower Church. It’s an iconic image of what the Russian avant-garde could’ve become had it not been rejected for its realistic and transformative imagery.
As a funny aside, I guess that idiom “a horse of a different color” is so ingrained culturally, that of course she used it in her article title, as I did in the poem’s title. Well, how often do you see a red horse, anyway?
What appeals to me about this picture is that the colors are so vivid and there is something surreal about the picture–I would agree about the Chagal comparison. I suppose I ought to have made the connection about the red horse as symbolic of Russia, but that would have been too insightful.
My poem is also strange, maybe a little surrealistic. In the poem, the speaker comments that the sea is “uneasy” because this horse is present, and the horse’s appearance disturbs souls long dead. While I have to say the horse doesn’t look particularly evil to me in the painting (actually I think it looks kind of cute in prancing sort of way), perhaps somehow I intuited that “ominous foreshadowing” which is why the horse in the poem is a proverbial harbinger of doom.
I don’t know how I feel about this poem. I read through it, and while I like the words, when I finish reading it, I have to admit I’m like “Huh? What does this mean?” Which is not, perhaps, the best reaction to have when you read your own writing. But I’ll get it in the mail tomorrow.
And somehow, I’ll have to come up with a Day 12 poem, and a Day 13 poem. I really want to get caught up. (Yeah, yeah, I’ve been saying this for days.)
In other news, I received my print copy of Ouroboros Issue 3, the one which contains my poem “The Tears of St. Lawrence.” And it just occurred to me, that the Perseid meteor shower happens right around now. It’s too bad Atlanta’s night haze obscures any chance of seing them.
Also, my villanelle “Tulips at the Door” just came out in The Reach of Song, and Her Mark 2010, a day planner with art and poetry for 2010 produced by the Woman Made Gallery (a Chicago art collective), came in yesterday’s mail. My poem “On Sanitizing Official Versions” is in it. Maureen Seaton was the poetry judge.
It is a lovely planner, big enough to write in, but small enough to fit in your purse. If you are interested in buying Her Mark 2010 and supporting a worthy cause, go here (scroll down toward the bottom of the page). It’s $15 plus shipping, and well worth it.
And now I’m turning into a pumpkin. Good night, all!