Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Paramontage showing No. 5 - 'The church - II' (a type-2)

In May three years ago I visited the Middle East including Israel, and ‘The church – II’ shows a building in Jerusalem called the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which is ostensibly the site of Christ’s burial. The sonnet is self-explanatory.

The sun warms the city walls as women
walk the road under bougainvillea
and a busker – black hat and regimen –
sings in Hebrew to electric guitar

he strums alone. Using gestures I ask
for leave to snap – a tote with a strap that
occludes letters, setting the brain a task
to parse “rainin’” and a small gift shop’s tat – 

 “Shalom y’all”– echoes the whispering church
where a priest walks by swinging a censer
with a bell as crowds of the devout lurch
their bodies pressing on a barrier.

He’s said to have been put under a stone
we brush with our hands.
As though to atone.

I started writing the poem on 19 October 2020 in the middle of house moving. I was to all intents and purposes homeless for a period of months while my new place was finished: by October I’d moved out of my old place in Pyrmont and wouldn’t inhabit the house in Botany until January the following year. 

The poem took patience. I did more work on 12 November 2020 then continued with edits on 11 and 20 March and 26 September in 2021, so writing was delayed by about a year initially. With my sonnets I need time to get the necessary perspective, at the start I fall in love with all of them and find it hard to “see” them properly without a stretch of time to refresh my cognitive palate. Most of the poem was written at the first go but refining it so that it flowed – and made sense! – took time.

It’s not clear in this video but the font I used for the poem is quite square despite being a serif font, with heavy downstrokes and a blocky appearance. I wanted to use a contrasting colour for the text, so chose a purply-blue to go with the gold of the background. The background was selected to complement the gold inside the church, which you can see in the central photo. This photo was given pride of place because the poem ends with a description that matches it.

The church was built around 325AD and it attracts tons of visitors, as the photos show. The friend I went with accompanied me across the border from Jordan in a bus and after Jerusalem we visited Istanbul. The next paramontage I show will feature a building in that city.

Jerusalem is a very multicultural place, which is demonstrated in the street signs, in three languages. I fell in love with the country, the people are so kind and thoughtful. We had one taxi driver who tried to rip us off but most people were nice. I recommend visiting it’s slightly giddy-making to be confronted by so much history, though I’m not sure I’d want to live there: so many police and soldiers in the streets with machineguns.

1 comment:

Basia Sokolowska said...

I like the expression "to refresh my cognitive palate". It is so important in the process of making art to be able to step back and see the artwork from a fresh perspective.