Cyclamen Still Life

I could take a picture of the pink cyclamen
that I bought, because
it was on special at the supermarket
as Mother’s day had passed,
and show it to you;
so carefully placed in front of an open window, looking out
onto backyards, where
the ibis, cockatoo and bush turkeys play.

I could draw a picture and
you’d glance at the pink curtain above it;
rolled up and pegged, with
the white lace curtain showing
just a little.

This still life has more,
when you pan back and see
the cream bench top paint that is peeling away to reveal
a pink layer underneath.
This house we live in is old and was in the same family for generations
until someone began to buy the old houses side by side
one by one to rent them out.
The neighbours tell us the old man who once lived here was kind.
We still receive his mail and return to sender.
Has he returned to his sender.

The silver bowl next to the cyclamen has a few mandarins, but they
disappear so fast as my youngest eats them hour by hour
so if I want to capture a bowl full I must photograph it
in the first hours of the bring home of groceries
– today there are four mandarins.

I could take that picture
in just a few moments and avoid the uncertainty
of words and metaphors;
the artistic pain of creating an attempt at the depiction
of still life that underneath it has a layer
of moving life.

Or I could continue to dissect and hypothesise,
look for connections between still and moving life,
and somewhere in there find mindfulness
in a metaphor to extend the cyclamen petals into
the morning light of epiphany.

I layer my cyclamen still life
with poetry of memory
to see Nance’s window sill of cyclamens;
they might have been pink and maybe red.
Near her house was a Quaker Cottage
and inside the house was a visitor’s book
full of stories of city dwellers,
who had left Sydney to
recharge away from the movement of the city.

Seeking their still life.

(c)June Perkins



3 thoughts on “Cyclamen Still Life

  1. I love the lines: “Or I could continue to dissect and hypothesise,
    look for connections between still and moving life…” How appropriate is that to the poet’s/writer’s art? That whole verse is lovely.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment and visit. Sometimes words do things images cannot, and yet we use images to achieve some of those goals – irony and dissection.

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