Ersilia

skulls of saints–
the bones of the dead
dismantled–
spiritual songs

the bones of the dead
seeking a form–
spiritual songs,
grey life

seeking a form–
labyrinth,
grey life–
they are nothing

labyrinth,
consumed moon–
they are nothing–
times chant

consumed moon,
intricate relationships–
times chant
blood

intricate relationships
dismantled–
blood,
skulls of saints

A pantoum mash up of phrases from Samuel Greenberg’s “The Pale Impromptu” for Laura at dVerse, and The Kick-About prompt #13 “Ersilia” from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

The Kick-About prompt immediately made me want to take actual thread and do something three-dimensional to represent the abandoned city of Ersilia. Cardboard boxes were my starting point. Weaving my embroidery floss with a needle between the supports I cut and folded up, it became obvious how the city inhabitants became tangled in a state of impasse, forcing them to move on.

I decided to do a landscape background–the text spoke of viewing the deserted city from the mountains–and I spent a lot of time laying out possible landscapes on my floor from the collage references I had. I then dismantled and retaped a box to make a sort of diorama and glued the landscape pieces down.

Then I had fun rearranging the threaded bones of the city and photographing it from different viewpoints against the background.

Laura’s prompt, to incorporate phrases from Greenberg’s poem into our own verse, made me think of combining those words with phrases taken from the Calvino excerpt. There seemed to be an affinity between the two.

I read “Invisible Cities” in 2016 and posted a review on Goodreads. At the end I wrote: “Certainly it inspires visions that could be transferred to paper…and perhaps some of them will come to form for me at a future time.” And so they have.

20 thoughts on “Ersilia

    1. Thanks Jade. It was quite intense and absorbing. I’ll have to think of more excuses to do dioramas. This one can serve as a setting for future works at least. Although not so easy to store!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You need a place where you can install a loft for such things. After moving my computer and printer/scanner, I can’t get the printer to start again, which sux because I’ve got a collage I want to get started but need it for the photo I’m modeling it after.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. a whole creative endeavour weaving so many threads here – an impressive pantoum not least the way you inserted Greenber’g’s ‘duologues’ – they meld so well into the repeats and deserve more than one hearing.
    p.s. thank you for introducing me to Calvino’s city of relationships – like lemmings the inhabitants must leave when the gene pool is pulled too tight

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Laura. Calvino’s cities are all very evocative. I remember at the time I read the book wanting to give a number of them visual form. Now that I’ve been reminded of it, I’ll have to explore more of them this way.

      Like

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