Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Still Life with Fruit

Whenever I get together with these four grandchildren (ages 3-9) we have at least one watercolor painting session. They usually do Abstract Expressionism, but this time the oldest made me a fruit salad in the Primary Colors! I cannot recommend a better way to improve your life than by encouraging children to paint freely, whatever they wish!

And as a counterbalance to all this joy, tonight I am offering the poem from which the title of this recent prizewinning book of poems is taken:

Natural resources (the gutting of a continent):

You and three others are approaching a lake
The day of the pioneer may have passed its noon
but it still runs strong

It is after six. What is your procedure?

The history of the material conquest 
of America 
largely parallels

the history of every other
rich and virgin area

Free experimentation, trial and error
No job for academic philosophers

Those hunters who slew bird and lynx
as their stomachs and their safety demanded---

is it more than you would have done?

The error is material--it's an island ahead. You are already in the lake.

An oil well is a hole in the ground about a quarter of a mile deep

into which a man may put a small fortune
or out of which he may take a big one.

There were housewives, children

shelter and clothing

reasonable comforts

The island turned over

in a canoe

Anna Moschovakis, from YOU AND THREE OTHERS ARE APPROACHING A LAKE, Coffee House Press, 2011, pp 28-29.

The poem seems to end here. (There are only five lines on page 29.) And yet it seems to continue onto the next two pages, which I plan to give you tomorrow night. 

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