D A N I E L
B O N N E L L
Crossing the Divide
In 2006 the renown British poet John LIndley and the painter Daniel Bonnell produced a project entitled Crossing the Divide. The concept was for John Lindley to observe 52 paintings of Daniel Bonnell and to write a poem about each one without knowing the title or anything about the work. The interesting dynamic here is that John Lindley is an atheist and Daniel Bonnell is not. What sorts of creative dynamics would surface when the two mediums meet? Would the poems embellish the paintings or the other way around? If it is true that God gives us our gifts what would happen within this experiment? If God does exist then would his gifts transcend our faiths in spite of ourselves?
John Lindley entered one of these poems into a prestigious international poem competition and won. His acceptance of the reward is seen by his reading of his poem within in Manchester Cathedral as seen in the video here.
You come with your bad news ticking in your mouth,
fan the giant brag of your wings,
open your 'nothing up my sleeve' hands
and magic her a gift that must be paid for.
You find her where she'd not be found –
in the shadow of betrothal,
declare her the chosen vessel for the chosen one
and lodge a weight in her womb that grows like rumour.
Ever after she might tell this tale,
truthfully, sheepishly to all who'll listen:
how feathers fell from the sky in the shape of a man,
how he spoke a seed into her unopened sex,
how, after the gentlest, most shocking of rapes,
he left the scene of the crime
letting the white light of witchcraft
confetti down on her from above.
John Lindley was invited by churches across England to come, read and his poems while the particular painting it referred to was projected behind him as a part of the Crossing the Divide project.