Poetry Friday: “I Was an Artist”

“Astonishment is the proper response to reality.”
~ Terence McKenna ~

This week, two astonishing yet unrelated news items filled me with wonder. The first was about the discovery of a series of “high-speed bursts of radio waves coming from deep space”.  The second was the story of the discovery of lapis lazuli in the teeth of a medieval nun. Somehow these amazing stories converged into this draft of a poem.

Hardly a trace
of her bustling world remains.

But there, cradled within her teeth,
flecks of brilliant ultramarine
cry out,
like a signal, bursting,
hurdling across space,
across time
until its pulse
is captured,

a forgotten voice
“I was an artist.”

© Catherine Flynn, 2019

The Annunciation, about 1240, Tempera colors, gold leaf, and iron gall ink on parchment
Leaf: 17.8 × 13.5 cm (7 × 5 5/16 in.), Ms. 4, leaf 1
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

In case you missed it, last week I suggested a Poetry Friday celebration of women when I host the Roundup on March 8th, which is International Women’s Day. You can find all the details here. Please be sure to visit Kathryn Apel for the Poetry Friday Roundup!


13 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “I Was an Artist”

  1. Since 2001: A Space Odyssey I’ve imagined what it would be like to actually have a visit from some kind of outer space beings & now I’m reading ‘Sapiens’ with deep explanation of those ‘humans’ who trod the earth so long ago. You’ve managed to connect the two beautifully, Catherine, from so long ago there to far away there! I love that ‘like a signal’ connecting both.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes! I love that she existed….that she was discovered for us. I know I would have been involved in reading and writing of some sort generations ago, I just know it. I love how you captured that amazing news story in a brief rush of celebration. Nicely done, Catherine.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow–right before I clicked over to your site, I saw the notice about the lapis lazuli article and thought, “ooh, must come back to that.” Your draft is gorgeous:
    “like a signal, bursting,
    hurdling across space,
    across time
    until its pulse
    is captured”
    and I love the way the two trajectories crash into each other in your little short explosion of a poem. The *uote is perfect too!


  4. I had heard the first story, but not the second (which I’ve since checked out via your link–fascinating!). I love how these two stories landed on the fertile soil of your quick and nimble brain to create another wonder–your linking poem. Thanks, Catherine!


  5. More swooning from me, too – I am crazy about this post and poem. (Of course!) Thank you for sharing your flights of fancy and connection and mystery with us in these beautiful words, Catherine.
    (& thanks for the info re. March!) :0)


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