The Sunday Poem: Elaine Schwartz... El Flautista

Some of the most memorable poems in the English language have been written about paintings.  A painting by Remedios Varo is the subject of Elaine Schwartz's poem by the same name, El Flautista.  Varo, whose paintings are instantly recognizable and have inspired even a work by pop singer Madonna, has her own incredible story.  Elaine Schwartz shows a lot of fine brushwork in this dreamy piece.


The Flautist

(After El Flautista, Remedios Varo, 1955)



Eyes closed   


mask studded with ocean pearls     


the flautist leans against gray granite


her music     soft as sighs


raucous     as humanity’s lies     worries


the world’s unsettled breath



as shards rain upon the earth   


scatter at her feet     fragments filled


with skeletal fish splinter     trilobites tumble


upon thirsty soil     and faceless shards


mark sedimentary time   



and the flautist plays   


and hubris flows into the dark


oily miasma of our own making



--Elaine Schwartz



Poetry submissions are encouraged.  Email

Views: 345

Comment by Peggy Dobreer on April 17, 2011 at 8:28am


Very mysterious and memorable piece. So glad to have met you. I hope you'll be sending some writing from the workshop. The pieces gathering so far are strong. All the very best. Peggy


Comment by Margaret Randall on April 17, 2011 at 8:51am
This is a beautiful poem, Elaine. Remedios Varo was such a mysterious and inspiring figure, especially at a time when women artists literally had to risk being judged mentally ill to be able to do their work. In this poem I can also hear the notes of Daniel's flute... it feels as if you come to your subject from many rich angles.
Comment by Barelas Babe on April 17, 2011 at 2:19pm
There is music and meditation in this marvelous poem - I love the earthy references of trilobites tumbling, shards raining, and sedimentary time. Thank you for introducing me to Remedios Varo.
Comment by Dee Cohen on April 18, 2011 at 9:11am
What a lovely poem Elaine. You've captured the essence of the musician and the anxiety of the times. Good to see your work here. Best, Dee
Comment by Stewart Warren on April 18, 2011 at 4:19pm

" ...humanity’s lies .../ the world’s unsettled breath."  Truth in music.


I, too, appreciate being introduced to Varo.

Comment by Merimee Moffitt on April 27, 2011 at 11:47am
lovely, mysterious, human--love the admission of hubris.
Comment by Merimee Moffitt on April 27, 2011 at 11:48am
yes, an what an amazing painting--xcellent, thx again and for all


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