Words Left Behind
What comes after you realize worlds have vanished, that some choices can never be made again...?
Words Left Behind
What comes after you realize worlds have vanished, That some choices can never be made again, That among those whom you have loved or love still There is the thinning function of thinning memory, What comes? At least the heart still flares For beautiful things and summons the old fissures Of rooms you once entered and everyone turned To look at you. Sometimes an hour strikes a moment, Echoing some brief forever when worlds and would be lovers Might have surrendered lives to feel your whisper, To realize in your glance the possibility of reach, Of touch, of you becoming you and of themselves Becoming themselves. Yet the words were left behind. Now they sometimes wait on the slope of abandoned barns, In fields fallowed by storms, along banks where rivers Reflect the sun and among sleepy drunks who ride The bus with their bags of half-forgotten lives. We can hope for the silence of what holds us, For what lies in the break between a treeline and the sky, Or to find an unexpected path in a thicket where We have stopped but did not go ahead. Certainly there were lives we did not live, But something of them remains on the palette Of this, our chosen lives and others we keep— With a glance or a whisper, with what only the heart knows. —Damon Falke
Tabby Ivy writes…
The title of this painting, Words Left Behind, came before the actual painting. The phrase came from the novel The Other Name by Norwegian author Jon Fosse. I was so taken by this simple phrase that I wrote it down in my Between Artists journal. The idea for the painting came later, when Damon and I were discussing a concept I had recently read about: how through chance and choice our lives are determined. If I hadn’t met her/ him; if I hadn’t stopped to get gas that day; if only I had gone to college; what if my dad had not died? I also mentioned to Damon a comment attributed to Simone de Beauvoir that said we carry with us the lives we did not live. Lives lived and lives not lived both are part of us. I told Damon I could relate. Damon said I should paint it. I told him it needed a poem. The result is Damon’s beautiful poem of longing and loss, and the painting—two panels, one representing the lives we have lived, the other lives not lived, yet still with us.
Tabby’s painting and Damon’s poem are a part of their exhibition “Between Artists, Life in Paintings and Prose” on display at the Hockaday Museum of Art, Kalispell, Montana until August 20, 2022. You can find more information on their collaboration at their website “Between-Artists” and order their new book at TabbyIvy.com/books.
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