Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Midlife Scrimshaw

Well, dear readers, I've been "gone" again and will compress myself here, doing multiple days of the week in one (see labels at bottom of blog entry).

Today I celebrate the new poetry feature over at Escape Into Life: Carol Berg. Her "Wife's Mid-life Crisis" poems are accompanied by albatross photographs by Stefano Unterthiner (which you can see a glimpse of here, too). The albatross was an omen of good luck for mariners, until one of them killed one (in a poem) and then the phrase "an albatross around my neck" came to mean a great burden or curse. So keep that in mind.

Speaking of mariners, my book group just discussed The Art of Fielding, which has a character named Henry Scrimshander in it, and a running Moby Dick/Herman Melville component, and now, in a perfect random coinciday moment, we are reading Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell, in which a character in the first section possesses "a handsome army of scrimshandered chessmen."

A scrimshander is someone who makes tools or art from the bone, teeth, and tusks of whales, walruses, and other marine animals, this all being called scrimshaw. I'm interested in Mitchell's choice of language here; he didn't say "scrimshaw chessmen" but instead "scrimshandered," emphasizing the maker and the making. So I'll keep that in mind.

My own making and work and daily action have been inter-rupted lately, by good things--a vacation, a weekend with old friends, a visit with our son to see his new apartment--and by not good things, which continue to preoccupy me. I've been thinking of the phrase "heart goes out," as my heart goes out to someone who is suffering and, perhaps while it is busy glowing there, my heart goes out like a light and is dark for a while at home. I need one of those long-lasting environmentally aware heart lights.

Oh, I have one!! (light bulb hovers over head)


Hannah Stephenson said...

These are lovely poems, and really beautiful photos (so gray....I love them).

Kathleen said...

Thanks for visiting EIL, Hannah!

Jean Spitzer said...

The photos are amazing.

I wish you and yours the best.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Jean! I enjoy your work, too!

Carol said...

I think that second picture you posted, the one with the lone albatross, is my absolute favorite. So haunting!

And I hope everything is okay with you and yours.

Kim said...

That's a wonderful EIL issue! Perfect combination of photos and poems!

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Kim!

Carol, I am haunted by that one, too.