Some time ago I made an Artlog post about a mask I once fashioned, and what thereafter became of it.
Then recently, while staying at Ty Isaf and all unbeknownst to me, my friend Marly Youmans made a poem from the story. The poem makes sense… as all good poems should… with or without the background knowledge, though that shouldn’t prevent you from clicking on the above link to get the complete picture.
This is not the first biographical poem Marly has produced about my work and my life. There are five in The Book of Ystwyth. Where other artists have biographers, it seems that for me there has been the rather more unusual development of Marly evolving into my personal Bard, re-inventing my history in verse. I’ve got to the stage now where I’m not sure which is the more truthful account, hers or mine. Hers is certainly the more beautiful.
He made a mask, he made a mask
Of his dear father, O!
He made it gold, made a father
All leafed with glister, O!
He fed its light to summer’s king,
Jack of the Greenwood, O!
Whose wicker frame was sprangled green—
The light, the oak leaf, O!
The wildwood men were high as trees
And daubed in leaf-meal, O!
The gold-fired mask of the Father
Made glints and spangles, O!
The streaming greens poured merrily
Through Hastings roadways, O!
A father’s face reborn shone young,
Smiling and leafy, O!
The mask maker was set apart
From wodwo maskers, O!
Till horn-hard palms of wild men struck
His brow with green dye, O!
Then sprigs and leafy wands uncurled
From out his mind’s cage, O!
Maker and masker, green and wick–
Springflame returning, O!
May 5th 2011