artworldTributes
Thursday, July 14th, 2011

“along the needle of my heart”: Leonora Carrington, 1917-2011


Leonora Carrington (1917 – 2011)

Leonora Carrington, Self-Portrait, ca. 1937–38. Oil on canvas; 25-5/8 x 32 inches. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection © 2004 Leonora Carrington/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Leonora Carrington, Self-Portrait, ca. 1937–38. Oil on canvas; 25-5/8 x 32 inches. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection © 2004 Leonora Carrington/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

My tastes are catholic rebellious,

can alchemise the world into another strangeness

more than clocks

are riddled into or can dream on

sensibilities of the uncanny.

I am

another animal drawn away by magic

from tremors in the night into our

intellectual powers not sexual but

tribal, ancient, plumbago, ivy,

sacred as hyenas

of the fertile night or horses rocking

into rebirth beyond the looking glass

reflects reality more than the real;

arcane, hermetic can be the everyday

of cooking, living, knitting themselves

into myths unravelling like tales of fairies

seen by childish eyes of great age that

close themselves

to the imaged world

that made me blind

to busybodies,

took my precious loneliness from me

to see and see and lead me here

along the needle in my heart

with its clear thread of old blood

and danger never lost

to be

only

myself.

About David Pollard
Born under the bed in 1942, Pollard has been a furniture salesman, accountant, TEFL teacher and university lecturer. He got his three degrees at the University of Sussex. He is the author of The Poetry of Keats: Language and Experience which was his doctoral thesis, The KWIC Concordance to the Harvard Edition of Keats’ Letters, a novel Nietzsche’s Footfalls, and two volumes of poetry, patricides and Risk of Skin. bedbound is forthcoming. He has published in learned journals and poetry magazines.

Self-Portraits
Pollard writes: Midwinter 2007 I went to the Tintoretto exhibition at the Prado. Hugely impressive with room after room of towering examples of Tintoretto’s spectacular genius. Exhausted both physically and emotionally, I made for the exit where, just to the right of the doors was a modest oil on canvas of the artist at the age of 70. Merely 25 by 20 inches, it stopped me in my tracks. The artist’s face looks out at you bathed in gloom, bearded, resigned, summing up a lifetime of protean exhibitionism with a quiet, resigned gaze which is unforgettable and quite over-shadowed the rest.

The following Christmas my wife gave me the Taschen ‘500 Self-Portraits’. Many of these beautifully reproduced works are quite stunning and seemed to me to sum up the lives of the artists; quartets rather than symphonies; David in prison, Bosch atop an egg-tree in hell, da Vinci surrounded by beard in red chalk, Brother Rufillus cowering under the letter his painting. From that point and little by little I began to produce poems to go with these works until I ended up with 72. There may be more. They stretch from Bak at 1500 BCE to Wallinger today. They are mostly short lyrical examinations of the artists and modernist in tone. I attach six to give an idea of the whole.


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2 Responses to “along the needle of my heart”: Leonora Carrington, 1917-2011

  1. Linda Marston-Reid says:

    Well said David! Leonara Carrington’s work took us into another realm of being, but underneath all the work was the steel infrastructure of Catholicism, magic and ritual.

  2. Cat says:

    Beautiful.

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