This Island

This island was mine,
I lived alone with everything upon it,
unnamed but known to me.
Fresh springs sparkled for my eyes only.
Twanging music accompanied the lullaby
of voices on the wind and waves.
Now I collect sticks for firewood
and share the bounty of my isle,
with no hope of unconditional love,
a gentle touch, a mate and progeny
to brighten the tempestuous sky
and new-found isolation.
The cycle of the moon is split apart
together with my hungry heart.

Kim M. Russell, 10th April 2020

Caliban On A Branch, a ‘noir’ by Odilon Redon

My response to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads NaPoWriMo Day 10 Play it Again in April 2020: The Art of Odilon Redon, also linked to earthweal open link weekend

On 10th April 2014, Hedgewitch stunned us with the art of Odilon Redon, a French symbolist painter and illustrator, and set us an ekphrastic challenge, to select a drawing or painting by Redon and write to the subject, mood or theme it suggests. I was immediately drawn to ‘Caliban on a Branch’ as he’s a character from one of my favourite plays by William Shakespeare, The Tempest.

I’m merging this prompt with Kerry’s Skylover Wordlist, sourced from Dylan Thomas’s poetry collection Deaths and Entrances, from which the tenth word is ‘sticks’.

27 thoughts on “This Island

  1. This poem is so deep and richly drawn upon the painting but also your own internal and external observations, Kim. My favourite of your pieces thus far. It speaks to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wowww!! You brought the character of Caliban to life in this one, Kim! 💝 I love; “The cycle of the moon is split apart together with my hungry heart.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love that particular image, Kim, and you have more than done it justice here. Every word in this resonates, both in a general, shadowy way of our world’s current particular plight, but also of that universal personal loss and abandonment, of an unwelcome alienation that makes each word cut deeper, into the reader’s heart. I especially like the first three plaintive lines, and the cutting conclusion.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Alone on an island, that I wouldn’t want to be. I like people, most all of them. Not the ones who rage and get in your face though. I met one once and thought I was having a heart attack. I had to sit down in the parking lot as my body was not working. I pity anyone who tries to live with him.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s a human noir, is it not? Bringing a heart of night to the Island. Shakespeare the European couldn’t help but make this native an evil thing, and yet at the end of “Tempest” Prospero admits, “this thing of darkness I call my own,” which is the only real hope of healing in the play. I think it says much for our wounded relation with nature itself. Well done and thanks for sharing it at earthweal. Maybe we’re finding time and cause to work on that relation ourselves. – Brendan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Brendan. The overall picture reflected the opinions of the time, but Shakespeare empathised with Caliban, his creation, as did Prospero. Caliban is one of my favourite characters, more complex than Ariel.


    2. I’ve never thought of Caliban as evil, but simply his own person, with his own views and lost rights and freedoms. You can view him as a monster, but our William shows you that he is not. Remember, London was multicultural/ multiracial even in Williams time — there is complexity in his plays.

      Liked by 1 person

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