Today I’m actually giving a painting and poetry pairing. Sometimes I am just struck with something and my brain goes off in to a world of its own, making bizarre connections. Naismith paints beautiful landscapes and seascapes which have their own transcendence, capturing the light across water and clouds to give a beautiful mysticism to his art work.
The use of vivid colours and vigorous application of paint helps to communicate to the viewer the rapidly changing light conditions of the Scottish countryside that he paints. This particular painting shows so well the effect of light on the cloud cover over the scenery, displaying opaque and translucent qualities over the land and water.
The painting is dramatic and striking, which is what made me want to pair it with an equally dramatic and striking poem.
As you may have picked up from past posts Emily Dickinson is one of my favourite poets, and this particular piece likens a physical attraction and heart felt emotions to a voyage across the sea.
Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Futile – the Winds –
To a Heart in port –
Done with the Compass –
Done with the Chart!
Rowing in Eden –
Ah, the Sea
Might I but moor – tonight
– Emily Dickinson “Wild Nights – Wild Nights!”
On the outset, the poem may feel like a unrequited love, but I actually think that it is more about a love which has settled, no need to look any further through the two lines, ‘done with the compass, done with the chart’. There is no need to look any further, although I will say that this appears to be a long distance relationship.
The narrator of the poem, beautifully describes the feelings, although the word futile looks odd in this, but it’s talking of the heart being like a moored ship, tethered so that the winds can not move it.
Dickinson finishes the poem with the imagery of rowing in Eden and the request to moor to her beloved, which is what I think made me link the picture to the poem. Naismith’s art, giving a utopian view of the Scottish scenery to Dickinson’s words painting a glorious image of exciting nights with a lover which is clearly more than a fling.
You may not feel the same about the link I have made, or you might see something different in the painting, or poem. Why not tell me in the comments?