As I write, there is a terrific rainstorm. A mighty flash of lightning and simultaneous CRACK of thunder just minutes ago. Lit up the whole room through the big windows and was as loud a thunderclap as I have ever heard. Made me jump! And the dogs all got up and crowded round us looking confused and alert. It is, and has been, raining very hard; I don't think the strike hit the house, but how could it have missed??
Fine class today at Crooked Tree Arts Center. The first art class I've managed since the spring ones at the Boise Art Museum.. This bouquet was a model for us to paint in the accordion watercolor books we learned to make. Most of us couldn't bear to paint in it yet. Silly. So we painted on loose sheets of paper. There was a small bouquet, too, so we had a choice of models.
Here is the book I made:
And here's my bouquet: It is somewhat attenuated. . . I should use a bigger brush. . . and pay more attention. Still, it reminds me a little of Raoul Dufy. And I had a great deal of fun making it.
I was introduced to the concept of putting a border around to produce a finished page. You can see how I am only beginning to think about what to do about that. And, much as I like the examples, I am not sure that I will always want to.
We were also given a swell looseleaf of sketchbook ideas. Several of the watercolors were of pears. Since I have been interested in sketching, as well as flowers, I have seen many, many, many sketches of pears. And some apples and grapes. . .
So tonight's poem is called FRUIT! It is by Adam Zagajewski after Czeslaw Milosz. It is in the splendid book of his poetry called Canvas, Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1991, on page 80.
How unattainable life is, it only reveals
its features in memory,
in nonexistence. How unattainable
afternoons, ripe, tumultuous, leaves
bursting with sap; swollen fruit, the rustling
silks of women who pass on the other
side of the street, and the shouts of boys
leaving school. Unattainable. The simplest
apple inscrutable, round.
The crowns of trees shake in warm
currents of air, Unattainably distant mountains.
Intangible rainbows. Huge cliffs of clouds
flowing slowly through the sky. The sumptuous,
unattainable afternoon. My life,
swirling, unattainable, free.
This poem is a fine demonstration of the power of repetition! In a poem with fifteen quite short lines, the word unattainable (once as unattainably) appears six times. Once it is its own sentence. Yet this is not boring. First, because it is a long, rich word, full of vowel sounds, with overtones of sadness.
[The part about memory in the first two lines is especially moving to me right now because just tonight, our daughter came over for a bowl of soup (vegetables, not fruit) and a visit. I think she is sad because we are leaving in a few days, to drive to Idaho, which is nearly across America. We all wound up having a long conversation about the early days of our marriage when she was a baby and funny things that happened on long auto journeys we had to make then. One memory triggered another (THE THREAD) and we had a marvelous time!]
And secondly, because there are so many strong nature images in the poem. And images of people, and the poet, living their lives. Little stuff: apples. Big stuff: rainbows. I am now on the lookout for a big word like this to build a poem that is both happy and sad on. Let me know if you dream one! Good night.