Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Mystery and Melancholy of a Street

The painting above this posting is by Giorgio de Chirico and is entitled 'The Mystery and Melancholy of a Street'. The original artwork is oil on canvas, painted in 1914. Heavily influenced by the writings of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, De Chirico painted familiar objects but juxtaposed them in such a way that his paintings took on an alien, often haunted affect that engaged immediately with the unconscious mind: Pittura metafisica or Metaphysical art.

'Underneath this reality in which we live and have our being, another and altogether different reality lies concealed.' Nietzsche

The Mystery and Melancholy of a Street 

As dayspring swallows darkness
light hangs curdled, olivine
like the toxic breath of gods.

On the piazza’s edge
a callous sun splits the arcades:
white hot stucco; charcoal ashlar.

A wagon stands iron-wheeled
and empty, the beast not long gone
its warm dung still steaming.

In the street a clockwork child
bowls her hoop along an egg-yellow
avenue of innocence.

Her pulse is clotted, beatless
her childhood stiff as a stick.
Dissonance rapes the stillness.

The poke of a growing shadow
looms black as sin, its saurian tail
flicking the ground with lust.

Lips curled, hackles matted
the prowling creature drools
behind the cool colonnade.

Inside the box I crouch, twisted
flawed, braced in the corner
waiting for the scream.