Movement in Squares

Laura Bloomsbury at dVerse challenges us with “Poetics: The Poet as Painter”: She writes, “For those of you who like an extra challenge, then only after you have completed Part 1 [using only the title of one of the given paintings], look up the artwork link of your title choice and write a second part to your poem as ekphrastic.” The title and painting I chose: Bridget Riley’s “Movement in Squares.”


Movement in Squares

I’ve seen movement in squares
when no one’s looking:

peeling yellow edges, masks removed
the triangulation of centers multiplying
or rounding a buttery corn on a cob
a cluster of seedless green
glowing grapes sunlit
reifying corners into succulence
the pear juice piercing sweet
the sticky drippings of watermelon seeds
mathematical

Movement in Squares, 1961 - Bridget Riley
Movement in Squares, 1961 – Bridget Riley

I’ve seen movement in squares
when everyone’s looking:

until they march row after row
checkerboard cells of interlocking
black and white, marching in step
devolving, eliminating, disappearing
into folds of antiseptic non-existence
squares no longer, inching lines
rectangular, a comedy of illusion
designed to perpetrate a hoax
teleological

careful, my friend, around squares
there is no end of desire
finally

26 thoughts on “Movement in Squares”

  1. both parts are so imaginatively written, and they converge into a cautionary line on desire. I loved the fruit painting at the start where only the artist can really see the squares- as cubism? Bravo Dora- an excellent take on the prompt

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is gorgeously rendered! I especially love; “a cluster of seedless green glowing grapes sunlit
    reifying corners into succulence.” 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What I see and it could be way off is that the first part appreciates the essence of things and the second extracts the essence from them. The warning feels like don’t get too attached to either? I like the complexity of your poem which is fitting for the complexity of the image.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lisa! The first part I was going for the authentic/natural desires of the self; the second part, the mimetic desires of the self, mimicking culture/society/peers. The warning centers on the continuity of desires, the impossibility of their negation, the implication being that one must choose one’s desires wisely while they still can.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I like your way of putting it, the seen/unseen dichotomy that suppressed/unsuppressed desires pose. As long as I was doing ekphrasis on abstract art I figured I could get away with being abstruse! 😉💞

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with Laura about the cautionary tale and the fruit painting in which only the artist can really see the squares. I love the contrast in the lines:
    ‘a cluster of seedless green
    glowing grapes sunlit
    reifying corners into succulence’
    and
    ‘black and white, marching in step
    devolving, eliminating, disappearing
    into folds of antiseptic non-existence’.
    It makes me question my own perception, Dora.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you liked it and for sharing your thoughts, Kim. Desires and perceptions are perhaps worth re-examining now and again. I think good abstract paintings give us room for that.

      Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s