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Page 144


Duke Ellington bridge over Rock Creek park.

I call this photo taken in January 2019:

"Idumean Night"







Duke Ellington bridge over Rock Creek park.

I call this photo also taken in January 2019:

"Idumean Night - 2"


I bring you the child of an Idumean night !
Black, with a wing bleeding and pale, plucked

Je t’apporte l’enfant d’une nuit d’Idumée !
Noire, à l’aile saignante et pâle, déplumée

Poème don du poème, Stéphane Mallarmé (1865)

The poem came from a web search of the title of a tiny Arshile Gorky painting in the Hirshhorn: "Child of an Idumean Night (Composition No. 4)" (1936) Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

I've know the painting for years, but always wondered about the title. Mallarmé himself derived the poem from a work by Count Alfred de Vigny "Chant de Suzzane au Bain."

The painting for me was not about anything. I just noticed the black head. That's the way art is - the cause of the fascination can be invisible for years - in my case over 20 years!

Idumean is speculated to refer to an ancient biblical Armenia. Gorky was a refugee from the Turkish genocide of Armenia. But what does a black head have to do with Armenia?

4th century biblical Armenian script is almost identical to 4th century biblical Ethiopian script - so that may be the source of the black head. ...

And who plucked the black angel? And why?

Fish -2

Page 144


© 2019 by Waweru Njenga. All rights reserved.

First posted: Jan/11/2019




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