Ars Videndi (2010)
Ars Videndi was written for and premiered by the Quince Vocal Ensemble. The text is by poet Patrick Phillips. I was first drawn to this text because of the grotesque imagery of a swan, which opposes the cultural association of the image of a swan with grace and beauty. This piece strives to highlight that opposition.
By Patrick Phillips
Let us allow the swan its swanliness,
the beaded eye its glance,
the massive feet their timorous
and mossy-clawed blackness.
Let us allow all symbols of the mind
life in time: rain and grime,
sickness, luck, contentedness, malign
flies sipping at the oozing wound.
And if we praise a swan-like grace
in the dancer and her airy dance,
let us recollect imagination’s palimpsest:
the swan, the swan’s eye black with ants.
"Ars Videndi" from Chattahoochee by Patrick Phillips.
Copyright © 2004 by The University of Arkansas Press
(www.uapress.com). Used by permission of Patrick Phillips and The University of Arkansas Press.