Dave sent over a strangely haunting and intriguing photograph of a rather aged orchid. My first thoughts when studying the photograph were that the position of its petals reminded me of human limbs, with the graceful poise of a ballet dancer. This vibrant image contrasted with the obvious onset of decay and I felt that the orchid was dancing and dying.
At the time I had been watching the awful news about the Boston Marathon bombing atrocity. The fairly explicit filming of trauma with so many people losing limbs reminded me greatly of my days as a critical care nurse in the Intensive Care unit. The noise of the vast array of technical equipment in an ICU can be almost deafening and any search of Critical Care literature will reveal that on recovery patients have reported the experience as akin to torture. Many suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sometimes we have to ask whether we are extending the living or the dying. When it came to writing a poem in response to Dave's photo the issues of 'moral' and immoral 'assault' combined with the 'dancing and dying' theme and resulted in the following poem- 'Intensive Care Cantata'.
Intensive Care Cantata
This bizarre orchestra beats staccato tuneless tunes
for far too long.
The noise goes on and on.
Strings sigh discordant notes through tubes
to my unyielding lungs
and the plucking percussion of the inotropes
preludes the monitor’s song.
The woodwind moan of toxic blood
hisses through filters
and comes back cleansed, to my heart
that beats a battuta,
then counts the broken chords.
the doom laden boom of dark brass begins,
The riotous choir of red alarms starts to sing,
Frantic hands work on this withered skin
and wasted frame.
They will not let me be.
They won’t stop trying.
But finally I’m free,
see how I’m dancing.
Now I’m dancing
After sending Dave the poem he told me that the photo is called 'The Dancer' and is from a series entitled 'Faded Glory'.
He notes in his blog …
'I titled the ensuing photograph The Dancer being a literal description of what I saw, what I was trying to represent with the photograph. I think I also chose the title, at least subliminally, to help viewers understand what was represented. My tutor for PWDP once commented that I should not worry too much about producing conceptual work as it is surprising how many people will understand the intent but I suspect that I am still nervous that my intentions will be misunderstood.'
I think it's fair to say that he need have no worries on that score!