A few years ago my friend, Brian, and I came up with the idea of combining an art activity with writing a poem simultaneously to where we would be both looking at the same scene/subject matter and I would paint/draw it having him write a poem about it. The result would be match the painting with the poem and see our own interpretation of it. It was interesting to see if our interestptaions of it would be similar, different or may be both. Here are the 4 pieces and the poem that goes with each one:
Scarf pulled tight against the chill
sought, caught, brought, placed on the sill
captured, caption tells the tale
Frozen face blanched stoic pale
Testament to tested skill
woven with undaunted will
from street to shelf, itself a prize
for prizes rendered, ribbons tied
Award, a ward, a word of praise
spoken, token, now speaks always
Award, a warden
crouched silent on podium
muscles ready, set to run
unblinking eyes unthinking mind
within a single thought and time
warden of a memory mine
‘Neith plaster shirt and stoney hat
an image of an evening that
came and passed without acclaim
which left the world fairly the same
which garnered not a line of news
Earned no mingling camera crews
and yet of nights, like each, unique
through city throughts we sneak and streak
check points north, finish line south
300 players the treck would mount
a dozen friends, a hundred smiles
34 bands over 9 miles
and all the thrill, effort and love
lies clenched in statue’s tiny glove
On they smile, hat, all these…
Award, warden of memories.
Poem By: Brian Bullington
1820 words in 1500 phrases.
It took 6 weeks just to decide, the paper size of my pages
and speaking of last we forget, three orchard trees I never met!
20 that is counting those spent, as rough drafts came and rough drafts went!
four years in the undergrad, 5.5 on Ph.D.
to boast credentials that you find, em-blazed on little page 3.
forty thousand back and forth,
the miles of the flights spent on field work.
150 hours or so, spent in my shovel in the dirt.
Masters defense, in decertation, sleepless nights, emaciation
learned from each expert in the nation,
frustration, anger, jubilation,
till I found my something new, unique, good breaking thesis!
from ancient pillars, fresh thoughts grew,
then 6 more years, gathering pieces,
two work visas, passport, stamps, 90 docs.
all certified, 200 left, down pack dirt ramps,
under the roasting sun we fried.
and then, word pains taking writ,
600 happy hour imitations.
I did deny, back home to sit, never once issued.
then to the publisher, I ran. confident and foolish man!
manuscript cluttered in both hands
and that’s when the refusals began!
105 publishing houses, even now as I recount.
Oh, the shame! the doubt arises!
the ever greater debt in my account!
then, finally a yes I heard!
Someone read 1800 words and said yes, I can publish this!
and to the shelf the book did fly….
though from it only trickled.
yet, as I thought of those few readers,
I couldn’t help, but feel quit tickled!
I imagine in my mind, scholars, students, fathers,
reading to class, to self, to kids
answering queries, inspiring others.
wide mouth wonder, plastered lids,
but the truth is something humbler!
from noble start, and end much meeker.
my life and heart, twin corners tumbled,
now just sits holding the speakers!
Poem By: Brian Bullington
From classic stories, stories grow
And where it stops, nobody knows.
Over the river and through the woods
To grandmother’s house streaks riding hood
Crimson streak, great gad! Speed fast.
Scarlet. Let her? No don’t let her pass!
To feed or not to feed?
The snow has bared the trees and food
So I give her chase, this riding hood.
Through briar, rabid echo Lupine raars
She peers through flakes which number the stars
To judge from whence my voice arrived
At last shrugs stillness, still terrified
All past is gone, that safe separate peace
Of life, closed long night’s wooded crease
But of wiles I’m king, duke of lies
And in chase, above all, I’m lord of what flies
Through girl is swift, animal far more
Sans pause, my paws pound ground forest floor
Over hill, little house– on a prayer– ease near
Light spill, Grams! Progress slows, eyes choke with tears
Then pain rains, reigns, all else cast away
Hoarse cries, blown by wind — like all past– away
Slips, like darkness sleeping night
I nip at left, catch her in the right
Thoughts, and choices, to this moment led
Amoral moral, hood streaked mortal red.
But in stories, she’ll live, ending curtailed
Her lesson survives even as she failed
Sad snow angel, too young to know
That from classic stories, stories grow.
Poem By: Brian Bullington
Here’s to the man who shakes his spear
Wordsmitherating without fear.
Who with bigger than average quill,
“Oxford,” says “thy dict is swill!”
And swells with pride and dips his pen,
And having chose a mortal sin
Sinks his great protagonist
And moves him with gyrating fist.
Nudging along, great thoughts per verse.
His English Tongue, its best and worse
Slips tween the sheets and leaves the stain
Of pleasure teased from laugh and pain.
True shapes rise forth, his heroes surge
Till from the sheets, inversed, those limbs emerge.
And from that head emerge the seed
Of worlds and foes great toasts of mead.
Efforts complete, his tale avowed
The curtains close, his actor bows.