Saturday, October 3, 2009

He's built perfection out of hunger

The Rumi poem in the previous post from this morning echoes the theme of a separation between truth and love.

It reminds me of an exhibit I saw a few years ago at the Corning Museum of Glass; a collection of unbelievably lifelike plants, flowers, and fruit all made of glass.

They were in cases and could not be touched but were so incredibly real that in many cases you could not tell that they were not.

So there they were, these creations of man, mimicking the wonder of God's creative power, but lacking the softness, the scent, and the fruition of His work.

Beautiful imitations. Brittle and fragile and forced, like facts without love.

The poem below says it well (and even mentions peaches).

The Ware Collection of Glass Flowers and Fruit, Harvard Museum
by Mark Doty

Strange paradise, complete with worms,
monument of an obsessive will to fix forms;
every apricot or yellow spot's seen so closely,
in these blown blooms and fruit, that exactitude
is not quite imitation. Leaf and root,
the sweet flag's flaring bud already,
at the tip, blackened; it's hard to remember
these were ballooned and shaped by breath
they're lovely because they seem
to decay; blue spots on bluer plums,
mold tarring a striped rose. I don't want to admire
the glassblower's academic replica,
his copies correct only to a single sense.
And why did a god so invested in permanence
choose so fragile a medium, the last material
he might expect to last? Better prose
to tell the forms of things, or illustration.
Though there's something seductive in this impossibility:
transparent color telling the live mottle of peach,
the blush or tint of crab, englobed,
gorgeous, edible. How else match that flush?
He's built a perfection out of hunger,
fused layer upon layer, swirled until
what can't be swallowed, won't yield
almost satisfies, an art
mouthed to the shape of how soft things are,
how good, before they disappear

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