Reflections on Art and Life
The second poem by Valerie Foote, entitled “The Secret”, tells the story of a betrayal of a young girl whose innocence is stolen by a stranger and who, fifty years later, experiences a powerful flashback and a breakthrough.
Humiliation gnaws away at my belly like a blind rat, raw and senseless.
It is the sickening experience of ultimate intrusion and abandonment
that i thought only comes before death.
my ghosts are the demons,
that gather to feed on my misery.
In the morning the greyness settles in the still house.
To the front door, i turn the knob into the sun.
It still lives and i am grateful.
i follow her dance to the open road.
It’s then the man calls to me and his smile lulls me.
Hello peanut, he says.
i am the tiny peanut waiting to be devoured.
Why peanut? I think, over the years that have past between us.
The deserted carriage house is full of smells and stillness.
i am special i tell myself
because I caught his smile.
His fingers filter through my hair and a breeze ruffles the pansies with their
they will keep smiling through my shame.
Their silence will keep the secret in the years to come.
Fifty years later and I tell the gardener No,
Don’t plant those pansies in my garden!
They still nauseate me with their false smiles.
They saw and they never told.
Rubble Becomes Art is a triptych of art songs commissioned by Kate Steinbeck and Pan Harmonia. This performance took place last November in Asheville and I am very saddened that this year’s performances in Brevard and Raleigh were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brittnee Siemon, Mezzo-Soprano
Kate Steinbeck, Flute
Rosalind Buda, Bassoon
Amy Brucksch, Guitar