Monday, November 18, 2013

My father poses with a statue

This is another family slide scanned from the mid-1950s. (A single click will enlarge the picture.) I know the live person is my father, Jack Hicks Hopper, but the the fellow the statue was modeled on (with the aggressive center part) doesn't resemble Stalin, say. I'm thinking Dad is standing in a used tank with a gun turret and quite awesome metal treads. I notice the pansies growing, which says spring or early summer. I thought at first that the dried foliage in front might be in homage to agriculture, like wheat or corn, but when I enlarged the picture, it looks very much like dry hemlock branches. Which--if it is--is a hot fire waiting to happen. What is the purpose or meaning of this?

I know my father visited Europe around 1953. This seems like Europe to me. There's a car on the left, who knows cars?

Tonight's poem has nothing to do with tanks.


This World is not Conclusion
A species stands beyond -
Invisible, as Music -
But positive, as Sound -
It beckons, and it baffles -
Philosophy - don't know -
And through a Riddle, at the last -
Sagacity, must go -
To guess it, puzzles scholars -
To gain it, Men have borne
Contempt of Generations
And Crucifixion, shown -
Faith slips - and laughs and rallies -
Blushes, if any see -
Plucks at a twig of Evidence -
And asks a Vane, the way -
Much Gesture, from the pulpit -
Strong Hallelujahs roll -
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul -
                                                                                        (circa 1862)
----From Emily Dickenson; Poems Selected by Ted Hughes, Faber & Faber, (1968) 2004.

This is a pretty terrific poem. It is full of interesting phrases! And Look at the CAPITALIZATION! Why capitalize Men, but not scholars? Why Vane and not twig? Why Tooth, but not soul? Your challenge tonight is to write a short poem with a lot of capitals. You should probably also begin each line with a Capital Letter. Try to make it about one of the Big Questions, but that is not an absolute Requirement. Send it to me. Sleep well, you will need strength for this!

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