Saturday, June 7, 2014


LEFT: Workshop of Albrecht Dürer, 1471–1528 'The Virgin and Child 
(“The Madonna with the Iris”)', about 1500–10. Oil on lime, 149.2 x 117.2 cm
RIGHT: cartoon/
Marisa Acocella Marchetto


the blood of kermes bled
the kermes grain seamless and red
the worm of the tree fed
the cloth wed

in the making of Hermes lyre
is bloodshed

©2014 stephaniepope #ohj grain


1. The red dye forming the pigment used to paint the shadows of the virgin’s robe in the painting are derived from kermesic acid or kermes. Kermes is a scale insect living on the bark of certain species of European Oak.

2. “The insects were scratched from the twigs with the fingernails and produced a powerful permanent scarlet dye believed to be that obtained from the Phoenicians by the Hebrews to dye the curtains of their tabernacle.” See the website “Pigments Through the Ages”.  which points out how the kermes pigment forms the shadow of the virgin’s robe in the painting.

3. Although an insect, the scale-critter was called the worm of the tree (from Sanskrit krmija- = (red dye) produced by a worm; krmi = worm ) and also “grain” because it was at first thought the red dye came from seed. The red dye is made from the female bodies of the insect remains forming the carmine lakes of which kermes is one. (The other carmine lake from which red pigments are formed for dyes are the cochineal lakes)
4. There is a kind of #nepotism implied here. Operating in the making is a new Adam 
in the flesh and the song of life.  A living depth is experienced more embodied than man is in his flesh; how like the story of the lyre of Hermes, the life in the flesh of the turtle taken (and whose life isn’t!) to fulfill something larger than sheer life. Or so the song goes. And so, the song goes on: New Adam is Red Adam, how life is, in the blood, blood pouring from the inexhaustible realm of the material imagination.

5.  cloud hours
      shaken into soul―Red Adam!

©2013 monsters and bugs poetry series stephaniepope