Monday, April 09, 2007

I oppose a brain

Another piece of art that was suggested as an inspiration for our writing group excercise was Colville's Horse and Train. Somehow this appeals to me more although it seems a more difficult subject than the Wyeth. It should be easy to think of a story for Christina. She has been crippled somehow, left to die perhaps some distance away from help and is crawling to this house where perhaps aid or perhaps her attacker waits, or she is trying vainly to hide in the short grass from something sinister in the dark house or bird infested barn.

But the theme of the horse and train attracts me more.

The picture was inspired by a poem published in 1949 by the South African writer Roy Campbell. Words by Wilfred Owen serve as the poem's epigraph: "None will break ranks." The poem itself includes the lines: "Against a regiment I oppose a brain / And a dark horse against an armoured train."

First there is a symmetry in the idea - I write something inspired by a painting that in turn was inspired by writing. Perhaps a poem would be fitting?

Secondly I like the theme of the painting. "I oppose a brain" I feel like that right now, as if the whole world, an unconsciously regimented world, is hurtling somewhere at break neck speed and I am heading at an increasing gallop in the opposite direction. I have something to say about that.

Finally Colville was a war artist and right now, with thoughts of Vimy and deaths in Afghanistan it seems fitting that I write something as an observation on war and the forces at work that lead to it. I don't think my thoughts would conform to Colville's, nor should they. I oppose a brain.

1 comment:

mamie said...

Hi Canary,
You could take the two pieces you've written here to writing group! I have been re-working one of my "memoir" pieces which had something to do with landscape so my art connection will be landscape painting.

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.
Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)