They are raven-like, dark-winged moving toward a tangled nest or like crows circling seeking their own kind against a fog-ivory sky the outline is interleaved with comings and goings birds-eye cries flybys of brush-wings odors from mud hush-hush swigs of frenzied red but now, as I stop and sit, the painting becomes light-blue sprigs nuzzling rough-edged gaps amid the white silence and I see the birds are skylarks making merry and beyond the framework where joy flies on
What is the significance of this work to you?
This poem is significant to me, because it reflects how I inject myself into works of art. My initial take on the painting by Ellie Harold, "Birds Fly In" was depressing, with dark, scary birds emerging from the background, but later they would be transformed into birds of joy. This poem is part of an exhibition "Birds Fly In, a Human Refuge," a look at the sorrows as well as hopes of refugees. In the exhibition, there is a place for the viewer to sit, listen to music, and contemplate the paintings. The viewer is given pen and paper to record emotions in reaction to the exhibit.
What is the significance of the form you chose for this work?
I wanted the form to reflect flight's movement and the change in my interpretation of the painting.
What was your process for creating this work?
I started with my first take of the painting: the poem being a reflection of my own depressive shadow, but then as I sat with the painting, I saw more and more light and realized not all dark is negative, but rather holds joy within, waiting to be released. So, the poem evolved from dark to light.
Cheryl Heineman graduated in 2017 with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from San Diego State University. She also has a master’s degree in Jungian Psychology and has published three collections of poetry: Just Getting Started, something to hold onto, and It’s Easy to Kiss a Stranger on a Moving Train.