Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Doll

I put you in a little wooden boat
and set you off in the sea of earth.

You gird the curve of my night -
in the center is your doll.

You never let go of the hold
you have on your doll.


I couldn't really see your face,
after you'd sailed for a year and a day.

Your face flew away on the wind -
but I could see the doll's.

You never let go of the hold
you have on your doll.


When we brought them down
from the crow's nest, D.H. said "Those are Anna's dolls!"

He knew what we didn't then -
that they were your dolls.

You never let go of the hold
you have on your doll.

7 comments:

Cathy said...

Heartbreaking. Beautiful.

Dan Dutton said...

I'm just loving YACB. I had made a chart of timelines showing the births and deaths of all the Dutton family between 1800 & 1930. On it you see the births as "O"s, and the deaths as "X"s ~ once I'd laid it out, the children and newborns who died became more apparent. Before they had just been names, or even the lack of a name - "infant son" on a tombstone.
But I'd neglected to keep in mind the principle of magical inversion that is such a structural force in YACB - the brevity of their lives is significant, and it concentrates their image. That became clearer after a conversation with a friend who lost her baby last year.

This photo is the only known image of Anna. The only other thing I know about her is the two dolls. I gave them to Phyllis after keeping them in the studio for a few years. They were beautiful, in that old china doll way, but uncanny too ~ connected to a tragedy that I didn't have the depth to comprehend then.

I'd thought that the 3rd quarter of YACB; "Keep the Wild Honeysuckle," was mainly about the imagination of the utopian home, and it is. What I didn't realize inititally is that utopian homes of more than a generation are always haunted. And that's ok.

Cathy said...

Danny, your thoughts on creating YACB are as compelling as the work itself.

Dan Dutton said...

Thanks! I'm aiming at a totality with YACB ~ in which "the work" truly is revealed as the work - a form somewhat revealed as artifacts, somewhat imagined and revealed through various means, spanning a certain period of time in terms of its concentration of effort, but extending outward into indefinite and as yet unrevealed regions too. Even though we're locating a discrete performance at a certain time and in a certain space - the rest of the iceberg really does exist and is just as much the thing as the tip exposed to contemplation at that event.

It occurred to me this morning that contrary to the illusion of accurate revelation that it fosters, photography tends to be romantic, as a medium, both in the viewing and in the making.

Cathy said...

Our ancestors left the road map...and clearly, Dan is filling in the space...Excellent poem...spare and oh, so heartbreaking.
Willie never got over the deaths of Anna and Bessie

Dan Dutton said...

I do wish that I could figure out a good solution to quickly posting the mp3 sketches of the songs ~ Anna's Doll is such a strange one.

SBD said...

It's me now...I have been blogging away on Cathy's post!!!!!!!