Thursday, January 3, 2008

Leigh Herrick, Summer 1998: Poem for Judy Chicago

Poem for Judy Chicago

Leigh Herrick

I understand why the plates -- each
its own horizon, reaching across the dinner table --
And I understand the sexuality of shapes --
the point that these are women's plates, reflective,
each, its proper satisfaction reaching within itself,
announcing its presence, who it is, and who it speaks to --
at least in many of us -- and in you --
And I understand the pulse of expression,
the wave of art embracing the hand the soul
that insists on its existence
lets it move
sets it fee
lets it say it's here.
I understand why the plates, the table --
How very thoughtful to invite us all to dine
on the accomplishments of our predecessors.
Here, to come, to eat and never fill, to feed
without a single chew -- I understand necessity --
And I understand how, quietly, our bodies are the silent link,
still, to our grandmothers' china,
how the cups, saucers, and stemware of genetics and history,
of politics and culture, bear, inherently, our losses and
our gains.
I understand the bodies tied to life, Artemis unfurling
the umbilical flecks found within our ancestors' pottery.
There's fortitude in this communion. I understand
The Dinner Party.
Tied to the tide, swollen, swollen the soul of art.
We eat, drink what we are.
And in the long, tall halls that lead to the showing,
the talk is low beneath our energies.
We enjoy this supper of sounds
until, at last, all Heaven is astir, and all the angels
bent in whisper
that even God is jealous.

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