The wounded wilderness of Morris Graves


The wounded wilderness of Morris Graves
is not the same wild west
the white man found
It is a land that Buddha came upon
from a different direction
It is a wild white nest
in the true mad north
of introspection
where 'falcons of the inner eye'
dive and die
glimpsing in their dying fall
all life's memory
of existence
and with grave chalk wing
draw upon the leaded sky
a thousand threaded images
of flight

It is the night that is their 'native habitat'
these 'spirit birds' with bled white wings
these droves of plover
bearded eagles
blind birds singing
in glass fields
these moonmad swans and ecstatic ganders
trapped egrets
charcoal owls
trotting turtle symbols
these pink fish among mountains
shrikes seeking to nest
whitebone drones
mating in air
among hallucinary moons

And a masked bird fishing
in a golden stream and an ibis feeding
~on its own breast'
and a stray Connemara Pooka'
And then those blown mute birds
bearing fish and paper messages
between two streams
which are the twin streams
of oblivion
wherein the imagination
turning upon itself
with white electric vision
refinds itself still mad
and unfed
among the hebrides

This painting is fairly abstract and up for interpretation, so the poet had to be very precise in his language and use of imagery.

The poet uses diction a few times throughout the poem a few times; instating the idea of the "imagination", "electric vision", and "hallucinary moons" which help us understand the abstractness of this piece. 

The poet is also constantly stating what the painting is and is not, toying with our own imaginations as he writes. 

The poet's imagery is so vivid and descriptive that it actually allows us to understand and grasp what he is seeing as we look at the painting and read his poem. Most of the things he is describing is something we alone are unable to see as we gaze at this abstract piece of art.

The vivid imagery and details threaded into the poem give us a clear insight into the work of art.