Apr 12, 2011

Frida Kahlo Visits Ballinasloe

"They thought I was a Surrealist but I wasn't. 
I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality."
Frida Kahlo

I went to MoMA last weekend and stood for a long time before Frida Kahlo's Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair and Fulang-Chang and I. I'm always pulled to Kahlo—to her self-portraits, her story, her style, her battle, her will, and her passion. She was such a remarkable, colorful person, and I sometimes imagine what it would have been like to be her friend or enemy, or even better—both. Irish poet and writer Nuala Ní Chonchúir imagined what it would be like if Frida Kahlo visited Ballinasloe in her poem "Frida Kahlo visits Ballinasloe" from her upcoming poetry collection, The Juno Charm. Love the idea and especially love the image of Frida Kahlo seeing the scarlet Massey Ferguson. I know I'll be going about my day now looking for spots of color to feed to Kahlo, and (not to be pushy or anything) I think you should do the same.
Reprinted here courtesy of Nuala Ní Chonchúir and as a nod to National Poetry month.

Frida Kahlo Visits Ballinasloe

Frida Kahlo likes to walk in colour,
but she is hard-pushed on Society Street.

We wander together up Sarsfield Road;
‘Where is all the yellow,’ she asks, ‘the red?’

Frida, in a floral dress and Mexican silver,
draws a tidings of magpies from the sky.

‘No parrots,’ she says, ‘no hibiscus?’
Clouds part, a triangle of blue pleases her.

Then she sees a scarlet Massey Ferguson,
yew berries spilled like beads on the footpath,

A woman in a crimson coat and man’s shoes,
a King Charles with a postcard colleen’s curls,

Tail-lights like alien eyes spinning to Ahascragh;
‘Viva la vida,’ says unflinching Frida, painter of pain.

She sings the reds of Sarsfield Road and they bleed
into the veins of the town, pulsing its grey.
~Nuala Ní Chonchúir




Yay! Thank you :)

(Word verification: 'preachan' which is uncannily like 'préachán' the Irish for 'crow'. Weird and wonderful!)

Little bit of blue said...

I love that poem. I can't believe you have been to the Kahlo exhibition and you live in New York, I am on the same island and have not managed to see it yet!

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