Serendipitous Iris

Today as I was searching for some wise words to inspire and ignite some passion for a current writing project, I found this David St. John poem, the find sort of fitting in with this current blog theme but also as prelude to a favorite painting :

Van Gogh, "Irises" 1889

And to elaborate on that theme, here’s something from the late fiction writer, Iris Murdoch, whose letters I read and catalogued for a grad school research project in Special Collections; this was correspondence between Iris and a beloved lit professor, Naomi Lebowitz (such a wonderful mentor and so inspiring herself as well).  The letters were delicious, full of her love of life, passion, urgency, and fervor:


“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad
with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ”
Iris Murdoch

And my favorite Iris novel, the cover’s illustration sort of remiscent of the Japanese paintings that were such an inspiration to Van Gogh, and you can definitely see it here. ..the sea,the sea reaching out to us with its fingerlike waves:

And now for the poem quote:

I love how the flower parts inspire a childlike wonder and free association of objects here.


From “Iris”
by David St. John
"There is a train inside this iris:

You think I'm crazy, & like to say boyish
& outrageous things. No, there is

A train inside this iris.

It's a child's finger bearded in black banners.
A single window like a child's nail,. . ."

3 responses

  1. I love how Hokusai’s wave is both moving and static at the same time.

    I can see how van Gogh’s irises have influenced your artworks, Tess. It’s great to have you back!

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