The Swallowed by Alex Dang


The Swallowed

Francisco Goya paints
Saturn Devouring His Son,
depicting the titan king
in gory frenzy quickly
consuming one of his six children.

The myth tells us that Saturn
heard prophecy one of his children
would usurp him, like Saturn with
his father. Fear fills his stomach
and the only remedy
is the flesh of his flesh.

Ilya Repin paints
Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16th, 1581,
showing Ivan the Terrible
clutching his child
on trampled carpet
seconds after bludgeoning him.

The history tells us that Ivan the Terrible
saw rebellion in his son’s eyes and
terrible hands became stronger than he,
possessed with holding onto power
by beating it out of his child.

The poet paints
himself bloodied and wild
as he empties his heart.

The story tells us that a boy
whose chest was heavier
than his frame, cracked
it open, desperate to
hollow the fullness.

In these three paintings,
you see the anguish
and their eyes
are always the same:

They are so scared
of what they are doing
to themselves.

by Alex Dang

Alex on Facebook

Alex on Instagram

Twitter: @TakumiTheFox

Editor’s Note: Some poems are terrible and beautiful at the same time, as are some paintings. This ekphrastic poem cracks open the canvas and narrates the emotional undertone of terrible beauty.

One thought on “The Swallowed by Alex Dang

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