16 December 2015

Thirst and Drink

group of five sit around a small wooden table with a large platter of food, while one person pours beverages from a kettle in a dark room with an overhead lantern
The Potato Eaters, 1885, Van Gogh Museum


The cups are reproduction impressionism,
Monet, mostly, with Vincent Van Gogh thrown in. 

The tea is peppermint and chamomile, perfumes
mingling with coffee, dark-roast and Java conjoined.

The conversation is of worship and service,
all as if random and not sophistication. 

We drain our cups and reach for ego death in deep
silence, counting on God’s unconditional love.


Within the frame, set and purring, a bottom drops,
a flash reveals the holy temple and surprise

Sliding on light manifests fire in ice, control 
cracks, mind gulps, heart re-pumps more than its mere blood

Certainty turns inside out, echoes and beckons
till we advance blinded and without our crutches

Just before grabbing the life raft again, we feel
spirit search for us, flames lifting skyward and loud.


The instant we leave we want to return to face
radical simplicity, call out God and more.

The instant we leave we rip our clothes in mourning
and frame our loss in adjectives and verbs.

In the beginning was before the word, below
and beyond it, we say, and nod, once more grounded.

But we want to be mystery's shadow puppets,
we want to leave costumes, props and poses behind.

  For my prompt at Poets United, Midweek Motif ~ Design

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast


Sumana Roy said...

I find three of them to be very spiritual and uplifting beginning from ego death in silence to flames lifting skyward to leaving costumes, props and poses behind...a beautiful journey within...

Anonymous said...

This one has me thinking.. Cup of tea in hand. I love the line.. "Frame our losses in adjectives and verbs"...

Unknown said...

Susan I love the way you take the image write a poem then spin the image to a new vantage point. When I studied art history we always had to define one scenario - why cant there be more than one?

Jae Rose said...

Such a profound and philosophical poem - areas we are not skilled in - but your title alone made me think of the difference between drinking to quench thirst ..and drinking to find that which we are lacking and which can never probably be fulfilled until we learn how to fill our own cups

Sanaa Rizvi said...

This is soo beautiful... especially love:

Certainty turns inside out, echoes and beckons
till we advance blinded and without our crutches

Beautifully penned.
Lots of love,

Nicholas said...

I like each of your designs. they are bits and pieces of different artistic references I could identify and don't. Lovely! Splendid!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This is very deep, an appreciation of the outer design of teacups and tea, then the going within a framework designed for inner light......then back out to summarize and philosophize on the journey. Wow. So well done.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Jae, I love your comment here. Learning to fill our own cup is very key!

Purba chakraborty said...

Wow! This is beautifully penned. I am still in an array of thoughts after reading it.

Panchali said...

"But we want to be mystery's shadow puppets,
we want to leave costumes, props and poses behind."--- Ah, so true! The real work is having the core strength to hold the shadow! Beautiful and beautifully expressive,Susan!

Matthew Henningsen said...

That is such a wonderful first stanza... so evocative and full of smells and scents. Really brings you in to what you later talk about.

Old Egg said...

The danger in life is believing what others tell us to think. This can apply to our conception of the world and who created it to mundane things such as what foods we should eat. What happens is that we create barriers between us and those that don't conform or in my case the other way around. Let's hope God forgives us for our foolishness. Very thought provoking piece Susan.

Hannah said...

For me each piece carries a contrast...that of a rigid religion and that of an organic spirituality. Thought-provoking and well-written, Susan. Thank you, for the prompt, too!

rallentanda said...

This is a very important painting for me. I first saw it when I was very young and I found it very discomforting because of the suffering portrayed in it. Potato eaters suffer the grind of an existence with little hope of much else which Van Gogh brilliantly portrays .Indeed this is the face of radical simplicity.The face of the Christ on earth. " Whatever you do unto the least of my brethren, you do unto me."

Myrna R. said...

Not sure what to say Susan. I'm mesmerized by the depth of this beautiful poem. Brought me thoughts
of times when I left my spiritual practices and then returned to be welcomed again, home, per design. I must come back to this to allow it to touch me even more.

kaykuala said...

But we want to be mystery's shadow puppets,
we want to leave costumes, props and poses behind

There is a need to leave some memories of what had transpired. One need not remain mysterious


Mary said...

I feel the strength of the spiritual search here. Our cups are drained and refilled again and again...

humbird said...

'without our crutches' stands up for me. We often, if at all willing to, lean on/at something to fill our 'empty pages' while it's not necessarily to hurry up and follow in the same order/same stuff...
from other side, 'those people' who want for us fill 'the cup' irritated by our different point of view... this separation become poignant and progressive! because it moves us forward to find the balance, to act...(remember, movement - the fight of opposites). ~ Deep psychological poem.

Gillena Cox said...

im not sure if this is 1, 2, 3 or I,II, III either way i prefer reading it as one poem served in phases I, II, III

much love...