if i was Mussorgski, i would write a symphony



they discuss Putin & Obama
heated up a bit, circling round a piece of art,
set up on a table

creativity beats war

we eat trash&electricity
as tiny soldiers make their way
across a paper tablecloth
over a filigree invented script

the gnarly mill shares secrets–

“if you switch off the tv and have nothing more to say
to your spouse, your kid–“ the artist says
“or to yourself?” i suggest

art can be a series of awkward moments

the lady with an eastern accent asks question after question
while i bathe
my barefoot-in-blue-converse feet
in speechlessness,
the kind that holds you above water
in a siege&

later in the old town we sit by the stream,
“we could share a meal” i say to my husband

take his mobile//snapshot
pic by pic of him in front the stream,
how he leans into him

“i’m not much into politics//nor art” the river says
with watery tongue, a wanderer
between a world of frontiers stretching weightlessly,
he taps his gurgling hat// nods

&then simply disappears
just so
in thousand vortexes

around a bend of crossroads


i’m guest-hosting at dVerse tomorrow and the theme is “layers” in the sense of poetry that doesn’t reveal everything on the first glimpse but consists of some layers that give it enough depth to hold more than one thought and make several interpretations possible – mine’s a little snapshot of an exhibition i went to this weekend…


43 responses to “if i was Mussorgski, i would write a symphony

  1. Yep, creativity is better than war anytime. I don’t like political arguments. They change no one’s mind. But art has a way of making us think. Enjoyed this Claudia. Don’t think I’ll have time to write something for your prompt. I’m visiting my grandchildren and they wear me out. I’m sorry to miss it.

  2. … “a bend of crossroads” … I like that :)… promising to always keeping that image in my mind and to always look around the next bend … o, and happy belated mother’s day, C … smiles … Love, cat.

  3. Ah, I am sure there are a lot of conversations that one can hear while viewing an exhibition! And, ah, conversations are complex — with people in a gallery, with spouse, with self, or the river; but art is truth even in awkward moments..and even around a bend of crossroads!

  4. Reading your poetry is indeed like peeling an onion. We perceive one image and/or idea, then another and another. As I write I can see you bathing your ‘barefoot-in-blue-converse feet / in speechlessness,’. I am curious as to what the exhibition was.

  5. Wouldn’t in wonderful if we could turn war into nothing more Pictures at an Exhibition…Mussorgski would smile I bet…another fine poem.

  6. Creativity beats war only in a strange game of stone-scissors-paper.

    W G Sebald says civilisation is a destructive not a constructive agency.

    I play stone-scissors-paper-water. Water smooths the stone, rusts the scissors, soaks the paper. Water always wins.

    I love the poem. I always do. I love the idea that around a bend there is a thousand vortices. Or an infinity of ’em, into which we walk.

  7. Several occasions have found me strolling and playing violin at exhibitions. Each time became a huge learning experience…..a strolling musician gets in on ALL the conversations, and learns by observation and listening. Frankly, I’ve learned much more (or at least remembered more) from my daze living on the Ohio river in a shanty boat. .I the student, the river my teacher, and the bottle always present (such as with Mussorgsky, I might add). made a fearsome combination.(Have stories!)

    YOU, Claudia contribute to ongoing creativity as was ordained from before time.was invented. And the world either IS or WILL BE the better for that. You have received and now you give…how’s THAT for LIVING?!!

    Art CAN be awkward, for the artist has bared her self and her soul–who could not be sensitive? Time and age heal everything human, leaving only the soul to say, “Something made me do it. Something was/is my inspiration and with that, my consolation…” In response, I can only say JOB WELL DONE!.

  8. life can be a series of awkward moments as well…so is life imitating art, or the converse….life is a symphony as well…or maybe a drum circle, where each can add their own rhythm that combines into a whole, the whole becoming more than the parts…I like the river as a character, rolling on regardless…finding a way through the rocks and on to mingle with other bodies of water. the photo shoot with hubs is a fun moment…I imagine smiles.

    Wie könnte ich lasse Sie mit nur halb so viel Spaß?

  9. This is the round and round of it. While that was going on I was flipping TV channels while monarch butterflies make their way 3,000 miles, fighting the weather.

  10. you know, for every awkward moment in art or life, there are molecules of such momentous beauty, aching truth, smears of chaos, skies drenched in rising or setting plasma that after reeling from the impact we must write poetry, sing or dance paint our response, Your poems are like beauteous thunder storms pounding on my arid cortex.

  11. What an incredible painting this is – just when I think I have caught all the parts of it, I spy something else. I’m going to print this off and take with me to the creek and soak my feet in semi-speechlessness – the creek can be chatty at times. Excellent prompt and one to make one put on several different thinking caps.

  12. Overheard conversations are always such a great starting point for poetry, aren’t they? And of course, with your pointillistic style, the colours and images swirl and reform and regroup with the sounds and phrases.

  13. “we eat trash&electricity”

    ““if you switch off the tv and have nothing more to say
    to your spouse, your kid–“ the artist says
    “or to yourself?”” … No chance. We’re all a bunch of chatterboxes. 🙂

    “while i bathe
    my barefoot-in-blue-converse feet
    in speechlessness”

    Love all those sections. I really like the blurriness of this. I get excited when I finish a poem and feel like I need to go back and read it a few more times to really sink into what’s happening. It’s not as much fun if I can read it once and really understand what I just read without much effort.

    “art can be a series of awkward moments” I think this captures what’s going on in the poem. Conversations are the same. Often awkward snippets we try to blend together with segues, but really, we just all want our turn to speak, rarely to listen.

    Fantastic ending.

  14. Highly creative Claudia. I like the collage effect of the poem–disparate elements that come together, each one discovered changing what has come before. Writing like this is like doing wind sprints for a marathon runner–really gets the blood boiling to know you can go for speed and endurance when needed. >KB

  15. even with the tv on, I’m a listener and observer more so than a talker, which is prolly obvious to everyone around dverse… smiles. I’d love if the only bleeding we did was creatively – and not on the battlefield in a war of mass bloodshed.

  16. Politics is like art. Some reality mixed with perception, some truth covered with lies. Love this!

  17. I like that your painting looks like you are dwarfed in the middle of duck-faces in high heels. Right? Such is life. Some have mustaches and bucked teeth…and there you are with your little dog. ‘re-cue’ seems to be written on the yellow dress. I love the layers…and in your words, my favorite part is the communion with your husband, taking a selfie by the river. Or at least, that’s what I got from the water’s reflection.

  18. “…the river says
    with watery tongue, a wanderer
    between a world of frontiers stretching weightlessly,
    he taps his gurgling hat// nods”

    I like this part. There are layers here for sure.

  19. I absolutely love your personification of the river in the final stanzas. This will require multiple reads. Such a dazzling display of words.

  20. I can see different layers and I guess it depends on what the reader wishes to focus on. I think the river has a mind of his own as he taps his gurgling hat.

  21. Nice one, as always, Claudia, taking us on your curly ride through things we’d not noticed. My fav:

    “while i bathe
    my barefoot-in-blue-converse feet
    in speechlessness,”


  22. I think I read “creativity beats war” about 20 times, considering several different ways to read it. I’ve not decided on one, nor do I think I should. Each reading gives a different shade that is exciting to consider. I also found the words and textures in the rest of the poem quite lucid, like an urban Ghibli movie, wondrous and slightly absurd (the river in particular).

    I think I need to read this a few more times still.


  23. Ah.. to live as layers of river.. is never lost apart.. to stay with the water of life.. instead of drought of heArt.. can be the refreshing Bavarian beer of light.. in real Illuminati way..:)

  24. We do eat trash and electricity, don’t we….wow, like Gabriela says, this is like peeling an onion. Several layers here of thought and your playful flow of consciousness

  25. I love that “barefoot in blue converse” line. It read a bit awkward to me at first, but then made perfect sense. The odd phrasing of the line helped to emphasize it, and made it my favourite part of the piece.

  26. I specially love the ending about the river with the watery tongue ~ I am sorry I couldn’t join you Claudia but I will keep your prompt in mind when I write for one of our OLN ~ Thanks for hosting and wishing you happy week ~

  27. Wow, lots of layers here to peel and interpret. I love the line….”while i bathe
    my barefoot-in-blue-converse feet in speechlessness” and the imagery in the stanza about the river …amazing.

  28. I read your piece when you posted from my email – but didn’t get time to come and visit until now – I think in this prompt as well in your piece – your painting and poetry meets one another – a wonderful convergence……

  29. The layers seem to elevate — or vertically-displace — the speaker from the strife of debate to the bliss of existence. I like.