They Come Dressed in Feathers

thumbnail_-facebook_1483738169765That was how the spirit left the scene,

with one feathered wing dipped in the ashen sea.

The moment becomes a window,

the photo an eternity to gaze through

silhouettes

becoming signs, rippling to find

where the child once stood,

so that the saddened would be assured,

as they gathered along the shore

beneath oak and behind shades,

that this was how he made the transition.

The next phase of the journey,

no longer earth bound,

contours cast off and scattered to the deep,

commingling than expanding

to include these wings

and all the moments that are arresting.

We can find you when heavy clouds accumulate,

as the light that breaks through the sorrow,

as the wisdom that all is temporal.

The ways and the means we mill over

must appear smaller from up there,

ant-like and in miniature.

The shadows that surround

can levitate from the ground

when the sun moves them,

when all the white homes

appear like a runway of bones for those in flight,

passing with flashing talons

to penetrate the dreams of those inside.

Clear as the glint in your eyes,

I remember the whole trajectory,

as you cross the sky like an Egyptian deity

with one feathered wing dipped in the ashen sea.

 

Up north the family cottage grows cold.

The once glowing furnace of the potbellied stove

emits no smoke from its chimney beneath the trees.

Yet the floors still creak

and something beyond the elements speak at the edges,

with the spring of your essences.

It moves beneath everything,

even when no one is listening.

The sound of cracked ice on the lake

reminds me that the ancestors will take

the surroundings given and speak through them,

moving the pine’s limbs to shadowbox with the wind,

they make themselves known, if only briefly,

outside the pages of that great mystery

unread in the cobwebbed dust of your library.

Our lives are the layers in the walls they built,

slivers of glass in the windows and lamps they fastened

another stitch in the tapestry,

that which completes me, speaks through me,

through the imagination, peering from a darkened sky,

projecting light on the pillows of the dream’s eye

like a moon wrapped in sheets of cloud

on a winter’s night.

I hear you most clearly in the quiet hours

before anyone wakes,

when the lake would ripple its way to the pier

and two loons draped in mist would appear,

skimming the water’s gaze

over the length of the great Birch,

they’ll materialize and search

through my guise, at once familiar

in white tunic and shoes of leather,

they’ll come dressed in feathers,

dipping one wing in the surfaces of memory,

moving what preceded me,

deconstructing but giving breath to me,

an extension, their living entity,

poised between worlds.

Symbiosis

DSC00005.

DOMINICK TAKIS:  Symbiosis:  Sicilian, Irish and Other Travel Interpretations with Lichen

Symbiosis:  A close prolonged association between two or more different organisms of different species that may benefit each member. 

When I began to incorporate lichen onto my surfaces as a weight and balance for composition, I was mostly interested in it’s textures and patterns.  Lichen has an ancient and weathered look; it makes me think of civilizations that revered the circle as a symbol of the connection between the harmony of nature and the cosmos. The patterns of the lichen appeared on man-made Dolmens and portal tombs as well as naturally on stone. 

I began to read more about lichen and it’s symbiotic relationship to algae; how they create their own existence, yet are attached.  I found parallels in my own life; the distance that comes from independence, yet still remaining attached to my ancestors and culture. An outcropping of land, a farmhouse, a church or a graveyard may take on greater significance when it contains some familial connection.  This became apparent when traveling through my ancestral Sicily and in my wife’s native Ireland.  Whether drawing inspiration from the Cathedral mosaics in Monreale or through the neolithic stone of Drombeg, this work resonates with a desire to come full circle.  What began as physically traveling back to the land, has left an impression, influencing my work’s narrative.  Whether figuratively or intellectually, I have recognized this symbiotic relationship with my ancestors and culture and how it informs my art.

I recently collaborated with my father (who is a painter and mixed media artist) on this statement for his most recent work that will be shown in the Galatea Gallery in Boston during the month of June 2015

The Opening reception is 6-8Pm on Friday June 5th,  feel free to stop by if you are in the area.

Galatea Gallery   http://galateafineart.com/

Address: 460 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02118
Phone:(617) 542-1500

Silence Commands its Enigma

Drombeg black and white
Cloud shadow moves over Drombeg stone circle.
As it always has.
Satellite skin
unveiling the forgotten
which is hidden
within the cryptic code of dreams.
The past preludes where we are going,
this moment, in the circle,
timeless and frozen,
an exceptional contribution
to the mark of mankind.
Perfectly positioned for solstice,
its possible meaning, measureless
for each individual it is worthy of reverence,
for each, a silent presence that offers no answers.
To some it means everything,
to others, nothing at all.

From all corners, these feet pilgrim through.
To pay homage
To pose for the montage,
its image reproduced in photo files
that cannot capture its true worth,
for long after we depart this earth,
the circle that has endured
will watch over the sea
on its small ridge of stranded stone
marking the burials and the rituals of ancestors.
You can feel the ancient lines
with the comparative youth of fingers,
coloring and cradling time,
another attempt at illusion,
a modicum of control,
decisions shudder like buoys
bobbing on the water
growing darker below the last trees.
The deep lull laps tongues of seaweed,
wedded to its rocky promontory
as you were to the choice to return.

It is all one unfolding portal
for wind to pass
for sunlight to gift with shadow,
for travel to tap into the unseen,
following
piercing the sky,
at one moment pale, lean,
now tilting towards darkness,
late late darkness in Ireland
and Drombeg will resume its rapt, eternal stance.
The silence of its ridge commands its enigma,
satellite stones
thrown in the purposeful harboring of secrets,
inner passages for light to filter down
to an inner chamber
of infinite spirals,
the magnetic motioning
on faraway dials,
examine the trials men have endured
to haul these stones impossible distances
to these altars,
raised epicenters
unchanged for a millenia.
It has been arranged, this moment of interaction,
for one to contribute to its history,
for your shadow becomes a petroglyph
on the surface of its mystery.

Kinsale and the Residue of Mystery

celtic-mist-jpg
When the fog lifts off of Kinsale Harbor
and you see the sun reflected
like the pale eye of a dead fish
in the murky waters of tangleweed and shipwreck debris,
note that some places are left with an unmistakable residue of mystery.

When the blue heron lifts its distinctive wings
from the wellspring of Kinsale Harbor,
its languid sweep will remain etched
like a deep thread in the memory of ancestors.
Blue hewn and imbued with significance,
it carries unseen alms
for those who go down to sea
to gather pebbles
and piece by piece reconstruct their history.

When the legend of the white lady is lifted
from the lips of locals living by Kinsale Harbor,
you recognize the enduring motif
of tragedy and unrequited love
evident in all these stories
that haunt quiet lanes and Norman churches.

Shadows fleeting, we catch mystery in the details,
words sticking to you like an oppressive air,
when attached to a physical place,
we put them down in fog-obscured and isolated towns
where the imagination is bound to usher in the drowned dead
to wander through another headland in the sea.
If it is in your disposition to receive these visions,
they’ll be reaching through windows,
or if auditory, their subtle transmissions
get trapped like a piper’s notes
to float like the widow’s ghost
over the silence of old forts.
Amplified, the recording is replayed over and over
on the rampart’s leap, they remain spellbound,
this port town where this is recurring.
You see the tide going out,
the sails receding in the first light of morning,
you stayed long enough, it had touched you without warning,
Kinsale and its haunted aura
and in your wake you’ll leave the harbor
but know it remains with you, like a tragic lover,
linked arm in arm under the cover
of memory, of synchronicity,
destined for the recollection of travel
and the impression you left when passing through.

If Only I Could Recall

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I wanted to believe

I could capture some of its essence.

A tourist with a pen

instead of a lens

to hem in all the experience

that unfolded before me

the green fields of her myth.

A modern moment presents fragments,

and they fell together, seamless

while fingers moving screen less

will attempt to speak of her width,

all that emerald pastureland

that follows ancient walls

until it falls over cliffs and into the sea.

If only I could recall the trajectory of travel,

from the peopled east, to the rugged west,

where sheep seem to outnumber

all else, perched there impossibly

on some promontory,

dotted in my memory

of hills we walked together.

The tranquility of a moment’s

sunset I could only begin

to capture in words, the color

as it merged with the North Atlantic

and towards bewitching us fully.

 

Slow down says the river

with its eternal murmur

under quiet bridges

that have channeled her

and held the weight of our ancestors.

If only I could recall each remnant from their past,

set in ivy and half collapsed in stone

where bats and crows

now circle forgotten towers

like smoke from the chimneys

of obscured homes

left to the wild and alone,

reclaimed inch by inch, year by year

in a seamless embrace.

In passing you catch the trace

of an old peat fire

and imagine the warmth of the hearth

that once held together

the pain and the laughter,

all the sorrowful banter

that time abandons

to the cold shadows of famine

slanting like a cross

on an earth-filled floor.

 

As you walk from a venerable pub

into the country dark,

you’ll listen for the subtle chime

of the grandfather clock at Foxmount

to guide past spirits that do not sleep,

past walls that will not keep

out of our imagination

that which lies on the other side of the veil.

Blurred in a half moon’s glare through trees,

the land steeped in legend,

in banshees baring teeth

what screams during the time we do not speak

but only seek to feel our way through the palpable dark

pressing in on the edges of thought,

if only one could capture what we sought of its essence

with a hurried pen,

only then we’d begin to reveal

some of the magic of a subtle presence

holding it all together.

Each experience, perhaps better to be left

burnt and entrenched

in their own immutable imprints,

conscious or unconscious,

dim or brilliant,

they’ll proceed to play a part

like voices in the art

like choices that will start

to branch out from these sturdy roots

and reveal a truth so long hidden.