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Inspired by Gaudi

April 18, 2012

Trees in St. Augustin's square, Barcelona  As I mentioned in my previous post, the first architectural features to impact upon me in Barcelona were the trees.  No matter what the species, they were all like those shown in St. Augustin’s square, with sinuous branches stretching up to three times the length of squat trunks.  I’ve not witnessed such weird growing shapes before and deduced that they have evolved this way as they are competing with the surrounding buildings for light and air.  Oddly enough they often echo shapes found in Gaudi’s architectural designs which are said to be inspired by the patterns and structures found in nature.

Since my weekend visit to the city I have been working on a poetic response to the buildings that I visited during my stay and had to include a reference to  Gaudi’s chimneys.  It seems to me that he gave free reign to his imagination on the rooftops, creating a unique skyline which must have seemed futuristic in its day.  What surprises me is that his patrons allowed him to exercise such creative freedom.

Whilst browsing the books in the souvenir shop at La Perdrera, I came across a copy of Li by David Wade.  This booklet explains the dynamic forms found in nature and has given me added insight into Gaudi’s designs, particularly the chimney decorations.  Here is my poem so far.  It has a working title of Inspired by Gaudi.

Barcelona’s topsy-turvy trees

disrupt the patterns of my mind.

I struggle to cross-match them

with known species

of sycamore and lime.

I register the squiggles

and scrawls of a lattice

of limbs which stretch

their skeletal forms

seven storeys high,

consider whether their predecessors

were the source of inspiration

for Gaudi’s creative designs

or some other resonance

more serpentine;

a Medusa whose sinuous curves

are discerned in the stone

seats, arches, pillars and facades

of la Perdrera, parc Guell

and la Sagrada Familia.

Chimneys on rooftop of Pallau Guell

But how to relate to the pallau rooftops

procreated by chimneys

whose crystalline camouflage

encapsulates a mosaic of memories.

I decipher the confusion

of fossilised impressions,

slough off my outer skin,

shift into original form

to assimilate this reptilian world.

Undulating rooftop of la Perdrera

Although I intend the poem to be read as 5 line stanzas, and have attempted to achieve this appearance through a series of edits, it insists on being published in one long sequence.


From → Poetry

  1. Great poem in the making – maybe it has to be one long sequence so that it can echo the sinuous curves of Gaudi’s skyline ?

    • That might take a while to achieve but I’ve already decided to change the last two sentences. It’s amazing how much time one can spend on crafting a poem.

  2. You are so right. A poem can take a lifetime to write! But yours is coming along nicely. I think I tend to be a visual person and it is sometimes difficult to connect with a writer’s intent or thought process unless they give me lots of clues. Of course, I think of a poem as more for the poet than the reader…a poet or writer MUST write. But, I love the references worked in throughout. Adds a lot to the imagery for me.

    • Thanks, weekendknitter. I’m told that my descriptive prose is so vivid that people can picture themselves back in the time and place where I set the story. Have you had a look at the blog that I keep for the Olympic project that I’m delivering for Barnard Castle? We’re looking to create a knitted/textile art installation out of the winning poem for the cultural olympics Winning Words. See

      • I just took a peek over there. I read a few of the poems and they’re beautiful! Makes me want to see the installation.

      • The installation will be on show at NeST gallery in Barnard Castle as of early October. It will then tour local village halls before coming back to the gallery. The deadline for artist submissions is by the end of tomorrow (30th April 2012). Judith

  3. Your poem reflects the playfulness of Gaudi, the almost childlike determination to express himself in the built environment. I specially like the five lines beginning with Medusa. Looks like the poem is going places. w

  4. I’m very impressed by this poem. Although I’m not a poet myself, this does seem very good.
    Well done. Keep going.

  5. Tony McGuigan permalink

    After reading this, I’ve just shouted to Janet… “I’d like us to go to Barcelona!”

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