Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Children in red & gray

 Another image from my mother's slides. I do not recognize a single one of these children, nor the location, but think this would make a great painting in the manner of Velasquez? Vermeer? Bruegel? I am going to go with Bruegel after all. It's partly the presence of the large red shapes. I love the textures of the brick floor. It looks like there might have been moisture in the cracks between bricks.

I know it must be cold outside, because we always tied up the heads of the little ones in scarves like this when it was very cold. Their heads and necks are all swathed. Why the boards? What is the golden shape at the top center? If one of my brothers has a perfectly simple explanation for this pictorial event I will let you know. In the meanwhile, let's all write our own poems.

Here is a poem by Brenda Hillman that also has children and strangeness in it. It is from her book Fortress, which was published by Wesleyan University Press in 1989. It is on page 15.


Often visitors there, saddened   
by lack of trees, go out   
to a promontory.

Then, backed by the banded   
sunset, the trail   
of the Conquistadores,

the father puts on the camera,   
the leather albatross,   
and has the children

imitate saguaros. One
at a time they stand there smiling,   
fingers up like the tines of a fork

while the stately saguaro   
goes on being entered
by wrens, diseases, and sunlight.

The mother sits on a rock,   
arms folded
across her breasts. To her

the cactus looks scared,   
its needles
like hair in cartoons.

With its arms in preacher   
or waltz position,   
it gives the impression

of great effort
in every direction,   
like the mother.

Thousands of these gray-green   
cacti cross the valley:   
nature repeating itself,

children repeating nature,   
father repeating children   
and mother watching.

Later, the children think   
the cactus was moral,
had something to teach them,

some survival technique   
or just regular beauty.
But what else could it do?

The only protection   
against death
was to love solitude.

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