Greek Head

David Reekie in studio 2007, photographer Duncan Reekie

David Reekie, Glass artist, with heads

[Another old poem, written following seeing a sculpture of the same name by David Reekie at a glass sculpture exhibit in the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh.]

The face is light and lightness, not fire, but
the back of the head is smoky and dark.

Dark and light intertwined make this man whole.
His blue shoulders are broad as the ocean,
rapturous, and deep as the night; roughly,

they bear the world, although he does not seem
to notice. What significance has weight

to which one is accustomed? Self sculpted
as a youth; life one chose — nothing worth note.
Those wary eager eyes explore one side

so intently, he may be blindsided
from the other. Still, that intensity

favors him. The drooping phallic nose breathes
in deeply, flares its nostrils, savors scent.
Lips barely parted, he is poised to seize

life or something living. Beware, be close.
Keep moving. Life is worth noticing — Grin,

laugh, pause, frown, cry, be seized by life,
seems to be the message he does not say.
He wears a victor’s wreath formed not of leaves

or laurels, but of thumbprints where others
have touched him. He does not even notice

he is wearing it. He does not see it;
to him it is just another hat which
warms his wrinkled brow. He sees only those

he touches, has touched, will. He does not know
he is a victor or leader. It is

we who follow him who see telltale signs.
Deep grooves spaced along the back of his neck,
where the grip of love has sunk its fingers

over and over again. They lead up
to the base of his skull, that odd open

blooming partly that of the English rose
full and wide (its stamens a delicate
hungry detail), partly that of whirlpools,

seas and stars, a galaxy frozen in
a distant time and thawing as we slow

to watch. Blue shift, red shift. Somewhere between
is the pale green of the new spring lighting
his face, the luminous spiraling

from this behind to that before. See now?
It is that opening into darkness

that draws us; that unwitting openness
to auras of the infinite others;
that silence shifting in sound’s round embrace;

that happy hearty hunger that does and
does not reach the preoccupied unaware eyes.


2 responses to “Greek Head

  1. Wonderful: description and characterisation all in one – superstructure and infrastructure.

  2. Thank you for being such a perceptive and excellent reader. I value your comments.

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