Martin went back to his pearl-diving article, which would have been finished sooner if it had not been broken in upon so frequently by his attempts to write poetry. His poems were love poems, inspired by Ruth, but they were never completed. Not in a day could he learn to chant in noble verse. Rhyme and metre and structure were serious enough in themselves, but there was, over and beyond them, an intangible and evasive something that he caught in all great poetry, but which he could not catch and imprison in his own. It was the elusive spirit of poetry itself that he sensed and sought after but could not capture. It seemed a glow to him, a warm and trailing vapor, ever beyond his reaching, though sometimes he was rewarded by catching at shreds of it and weaving them into phrases that echoed in his brain with haunting notes or drifted across his vision in misty wafture of unseen beauty. It was baffling. He ached with desire to express and could but gibber prosaically as everybody gibbered. He read his fragments aloud. The metre marched along on perfect feet, and the rhyme pounded a longer and equally faultless rhythm, but the glow and high exaltation that he felt within were lacking. He could not understand, and time and again, in despair, defeated and depressed, he returned to his article. Prose was certainly an easier medium.
This was, to our idealist, a deep disappointment. On the heels of his final break in Pittsburg with society came this sign of woman's weakness. Terry might easily have expected it, but one of the limitations of an idealist is an insufficient knowledge of realities. To men of his temperament there is always a distinct shock envolved in coming face to face with an actuality. Truth is the element of the idealist, but an abstract truth into which concrete realities seldom fit. Terry did not, or tried not to, mind, at this time, this continued sexual freedom, or rather vagaries, of Marie's life; for that fitted into his scheme of personal freedom: he zealously strove to respect the private inclinations of every human being. But the least sign, in any of his acquaintances, of a compromise with the integrity of the soul, of any essential weakness, met with no tolerance from him. " He passed him up," on the spot, with a scornful wafture of his hand. That Marie had yielded to the stress of circumstances, had been unable to hold out in the Rogues' Gallery, galled the relatively uncompromising, exigent idealist. If she had resorted to temporary prostitution to hold the society together he would have admired her. But, instead, she weakly sought, like any merely conservative woman) the shelter of Katie's roof. The first seed' of the essential discord which finally resulted, at a much later time, in their relations was planted thus in this deep irritation of Terry's soul; it did not, however, affect seriously his love for Marie as a person or his interest in her as a social experiment. But it tended to make him feel more lonely and to render him more hopeless of any realisation of the ideal, as he saw it.
In Guardian Angels, as often in her work, the subject-- the tale from the easel -- is not the visual documentation of a clearnarrative. Instead, its sensual significance is intuited, perhaps by painteras much as by viewer; it is the product of suggestion, not exposition. Cluesmay exist to its genesis, both visual and verbal. The silvery white formsshot through with linear folds recall the abstract patterns in paintingsby Roberto Matta, the surrealist master whom Tanning admires extravagantly,the "irrepressible exotic and seminal artist" she thought "wortha hundred pages of fantasies to match his own imagination." The birdlike creatures suggest affinitiesless with any conventional angelic tribe than with the winged monsters --"Loplop" and other bizarreries -- that inhabited the mind andpaintings of her husband. They transport young girls, known only by theirlower limbs, to . . . what? Safety, or ruin? Tanning recalls the circumstancesof the painting's creation, in the desert home she and Ernst shared in Sedona,Arizona. "Day after day, surrounded as by an enemy who dares not dealthe final blow, we doggedly painted our pictures, each of us in our ownshimmering four walls, as if we were warriors wielding arms, to surviveand triumph." In such "a place of ambivalent elements. . . yougave yourself up to that incredibly seductive wafture that, try as you might,you could never name."The painting's subject, likewise so powerful yet elusive, so unnameable,suggests the domestic arena, "the spaces around our table and our bed[that] were hung with the web of his [Ernst's] stories, a long strand ofshimmering beads strung with knots and areas of time and place in betweeneach one," stories now vaguely recalled, "like dried mummy linen[clinging] to an indistinct silhouette." 041b061a72