Thursday, December 20, 2012

My December Nibblefest Art Contest Entry: 'The Mushroom...', by Emily Dickinson

It's the 20th of the month today!  And so, the Nibblefest Art Contest is upon us once again, with  the theme this month being 'Mushrooms'....:

My December Nibblefest entry entitled, 'The Mushroom", a tribute to Emily Dickinson

I do believe this "Mushrooms" theme was actually my own idea, from back in the Spring when the Nibblefest mods were requesting up and coming monthly theme suggestions for voting.  'Mushrooms' ended up winning the popular vote for December '12 in an online poll -- pretty cool.  So, it might have been reasonable to  assume, that with my suggestion of such a thing, I likely had at least SOME concept in my head at the time how I might want to approach it.  But you would be wrong, because I ended up JUST as stumped as usual this month, scratching my head with what had originally been my own suggestion in the first place....!  And so, as I've blogged about before, I reverted to my most favorite of all defaults in such situations: the looking to Music and Literature for my personal artistic inspiration (with Literature winning out this time around -- because really, just how many songs about mushrooms do you know, lol...?).

Contemplating 'mushrooms' in Literature, the first thing to pop into my head was, naturally, "Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland".  And indeed I was all set to go for that, maybe even as a little companion piece to my 'Cheshire Cat' from several months ago -- except a second idea 'sprang up' (pun intended) that I really couldn't resist.  A little poem, by that most prolific of writers of 19th century American verse, the venerable Emily Dickinson (with the fact that it was actually even her birthday a mere 10 days ago, her 182nd, seeming an especially good omen....): 

 A portrait of Emily Dickinson, 5" x 8.5"

The mushroom is the elf of plants,
At evening it is not;
At morning in a truffled hut
It stops upon a spot

As if it tarried always;
And yet its whole career
Is shorter than a snake’s delay,
And fleeter than a tare.

‘Tis vegetation’s juggler,
The germ of alibi;
Doth like a bubble antedate,
And like a bubble hie.

I feel as if the grass were pleased
To have it intermit;
The surreptitious scion
Of summer’s circumspect.

Had nature any outcast face,
Could she a son contemn,
Had nature an Iscariot,
That mushroom, 
– it is him.

--By Emily Dickinson


I love this playful little poem by Miss Emily DIt's wonderful to recite aloud (try it!), with its rhythm and cadence, and tongue-twisty wording -- all of which she was such a master of.  And no, I'm not going to pretend that I understand completely every word of it (I mean, please: "Tare"...?  "Hie"...?), but I surely get the gist.  A nature lover, it's her own wee ode to Nature's little 'elf', the mushroom -- with its sneaky and surprising way of popping up right up out of the ground, like it owns the place, seemingly from nowhere, and seemingly overnight.....
 My auction description: 

Miss Dickinson was herself as much an enigma as the mushroom she so poetically describes.  An expressive composer of over 1700 poems, she never actually received wide recognition within her lifetime.  An intensely private person, she instead became known more for her reclusiveness and penchant for wearing all white than she ever did for her writing.  It was only after her death, when her secret stash of poetry was discovered by a relative that the astonishing scope of her work was finally revealed.

Emily Dickinson never married nor had children, but she gave birth to a legacy of another kind:  an incredible body of poetic verse, that continues to speak to us today nearly two centuries later.  Thus I portray Miss Dickinson in this, my tribute portrait, in a dress of white, and cradling a mushroom, my own symbol for her vast poetic talent and productivity, as one might hold a child (with the first several lines of her lovely untitled 'Mushroom' poem handwritten above).....


To see ALL the great 'Mushroom'-themed Nibblefest Art Contest entries this month
(with each starting at just .99 cents!),
just click here....

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