Contrasting visions

Three Acrobats

by Susart)

If you are a regular reader here you've probably already taken a look at one of the texts from the Vigil Mass for Pentecost, Ezekiel 37:1-14. In that passage, the prophet has a vision in "the spirit of the Lord" and sees a plain littered in every direction with dry bones.

Pondering this text as part of my homily preparation, there came to mind a poem I read recently by our friend Philomena Ewing over at Blue Eyed Ennis. The piece is titled "The Campo" and can be found in her collection, Siempre Siempre Siempre.

The plain in Ezekiel and the campo in Phil's poem are far apart in many ways but there's something about the "agile bodies escstatically moulding, in mesmerising contortions, boldly unfolding, cartwheeling and somersaulting..." on her campo that connects me with the prophet's vision. The scene on the campo provides a satisfying and fulfilling contrast to the prophet's plain and its dry bones longing for muscle, sinew and flesh to embody them, to bring them to life. It's all in the contrast: the plain, a place of desolation; the campo, a canvas for festivity.

And it's in the contrast that I find a better understanding of the Spirit's desire to bring us to life, body and soul.

The Campo
by Philomena Ewing

As far as the eye can see, umbrellas,
seating beneath the trees, people, eating.

Fast camareros, moving quick as bullets,
faster than food can pass through your gullet.

Children, families, cafés olé,
eating away, day after day

in La Naviera and Bavaria Brau,
the five day Fiesta is now in full flow.

At ten past eleven we are in our seventh heaven;
no one wants to go.

Three generations having ten conversations,
the accordion player is so vivacious.

The Moors and the Christians are thick in battle,
but no-one wants to know.

There's Ingmar Bergman gliding by,
in stiletto heals six inches high.

Three acrobats in blue, red and gold
suddenly appear:

their agile bodies escstatically moulding,
in mesmerising contortions, boldly unfolding,

cartwheeling and somersaulting,
till after two in the morning;

then, with the girlfriend of Ibiza,
we are seen strolling,

to the villa in the mountains,
to Montgo, Denia, our home.

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1 comment:

  1. Dear Fr. Austin,
    What a lovely surprise and thank you so much for the compliment of putting my poem on your blog.The painting is fantastic and fits the mood of the poem so well- if I ever do a second edition I will use this painting!!
    Your reflection on the dry bones and the contrasting visions is not far away from my own mood when I wrote this poem : coming from the drab weather of the UK a couple of years ago to the brimful brio of life in a warm summer in a city in Spain just brought home to me how different our cultures are: the Spanish are an expansive people who really enjoy life and we never saw drunken brawls or heard foul mouthed exchanges all the time we were there. The hospitality of Spanish people is amazing but Spain also has a profound spirituality and communality too that really burns into my soul and I love the country and its people. I am afraid that for me the UK is a barren land these days where Christ is ofetn ignored and rarely celebrated with the same gusto. Although this particualr poem is not about spirituality it is about vibrancy and life giving spirit and you have connected with that so thank you !!


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