Friday, March 7, 2014



Secrecy flows through you,
a different kind of blood.
It's as if you've eaten it
like a bad candy,
taken it into your mouth,
let it melt sweetly on your tongue,
then allowed it to slide down your throat
like the reverse of uttering,
a word dissolved
into its glottals and sibilants,
a slow intake of breath --

And now it's in you, secrecy.
Ancient and vicious, luscious
as dark velvet.
It blooms in you,
a poppy made of ink.

You can think of nothing else.
Once you have it, you want more.
What power it give's you!
Power of knowing without being known,
power of the stone door,
power of the iron veil,
power of the crushed fingers,
power of the drowned bones
crying out from the bottom of the well.

                                   ~ a poem by Margaret Atwood

Perhaps it is about time I finally posted these illustrations here. If it hadn't been for Robyn's email that I send them to her, they would never have seen the light of day. 
I did these illustrations many many years ago after being stunned by reading Margaret Atwood's poem Secrecy. I felt the illustrations needed an abstract approach and I did that. But as sometimes happens, I was unsure about their effectiveness in partnering Atwood's intense and powerful poem so I kept them away. Until that is, I left a comment on Robyn's inspiring blog ArtPropelled for her fabulous post on Book of Secrets that I had happened to make these drawings. Now these illustrations are up there on her blog too, along with those other stunning works of art. 
As Robyn said, 'it was serendipity at work'.


zoe said...

this is an amazing pairing!!! she has such surprising poems, this i really love:
"the reverse of uttering,
a word dissolved
into its glottals and sibilants,
a slow intake of breath --"

and then of course "a poppy made of ink,"

and your images are exactly, precisely *it*... my thanks to robyn, then!

ArtPropelled said...

Just perfect, Priya! The abstract approach is powerful.I can feel it! (I love the word glottals :-)

pRiyA said...

Zoe, Robyn, yes! Those words 'glottals and sibilants' are unforgettable aren't they?
And yes, 'a poppy made of ink' floored me too.
I am glad you like my interpretation. Thank you :)

Slogan Murugan said...