I’ll admit that it’s an odd painting. The Risen Christ, combined with the Green Man, a figure of verdancy and hope. While painting it, I was responding to Ann Griffith’s poem, I Saw Him Standing, which you can read below. It’s translated from the Welsh by Rowan Williams. What I particularly like is the reference to the Song of Songs, and the way the poem used the stacked imagery of Bridal Mysticism. Increasingly, I’m drawn to a particular metaphor for the spiritual life, that of a love affair between the soul and God. This is Bridal Mysticism in a nutshell, and I hope that my painting speaks to it.
I Saw Him Standing
by Ann Griffiths (trans. Rowan Williams)
Under the dark trees, there he stands,
there he stands; shall he not draw my eyes?
I thought I knew a little
how he compels, beyond all things, but now
he stands there in the shadows. It will be
Oh, such a daybreak, such bright morning,
when I shall wake to see him
as he is.
He is called Rose of Sharon, for his skin
is clear, his skin is flushed with blood,
his body lovely and exact; how he compels
beyond ten thousand rivals. There he stands,
my friend, the friend of guilt and helplessness,
to steer my hollow body
over the sea.
The earth is full of masks and fetishes,
what is there here for me? are these like him?
Keep company with him and you will know:
no kin, no likeness to those empty eyes.
He is a stranger to them all, great Jesus.
What is there here for me? I know
what I have longed for. Him to hold