“Invisible” by Ann Giard-Chase

Ekphrastic Challenge, April 2016: Artist’s Choice


Photograph by Robert Dash
Photograph: “Into the Mystic” by Robert Dash. “Invisible” was written by Ann Giard-Chase for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, April 2016, and selected by Dash as the Artist’s Choice winner.

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Ann Giard-Chase


They travel from darkness,
speaking in tongues—
a language of strings and waves.

They lug bits of this and that,
traces of matter left over
when nothing became everything,

and everything was a seething
cauldron of quarks, and particles,
and flecks of you and me.

You know what I mean.
It happened a long time ago,
when all of creation roared

to life, and light was switched
from off to on, and a trillion
galactic fires lit up the sky.

Listen! Can you hear the stars?
They speak of a light you cannot see,
waves that won’t lie still

but swirl and flail like fish
in a net, like wings or sails
caught in an invisible rolling sea.

This is a tide that never ebbs,
a sorrow without a name
streaking through the cosmos,

falling through the clouds
to earth. But the earth loves
everything—a rock, a tree,

fields of bluebells, even our own
kind rising from the sea,
charging across continents,

scattering our dreams;
our hearts are always looking
for answers, tracing the icy path

of comets, the sheets of fiery stars,
the limits of everything,
the invisible vibrations of time.

Ekphrastic Challenge, April 2016
Artist’s Choice Winner


Comment from the artist, Robert Dash, on his selection: “After reading all of the wonderful poems over several times, and letting them sift through my days, I’ve chosen the poem ‘Invisible’ by Ann Giard-Chase. ‘Invisible’ because it has a sense of eternity, of blending with the Great Mystery. The centerpiece—’Listen! Can you hear the stars?/ They speak of a light you cannot see,/ waves that won’t lie still/ but swirl and flail like fish/ in a net, like wings or sails/ caught in an invisible rolling sea’—is a joyous celebration of the wild miracle that is existence. The poet welcomes grief into her lines, but I feel her fierce love for life, and all these elements echo what my photograph means to me. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this inspiring process, and thank you to all of the poets who sent their fascinating work!” (website)

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