He stretched the canvas tight over the wood frame
an applied his base coat, a light blue, wanting to
give it depth to match the blue above the clouds,
infinite blue he wants to say.
Choosing the right green just as tricky.
November in the Green Mountain State offers both
dark firs and the meadows’ dimming grasses,
and too, the faded brilliance of maple and oak,
their leaves reduced now to various shades
of rust, waiting for the first winter storm
to set them free.
The weathered red barns and white clapboard houses,
dotted along every lane and valley and so easily
brushed in, lighting the darker hues,
what’s the color of watching his son teach, exciting
his students with mathematical truth?
What’s the color of visits with old friends over a meal
or hot tea or a quiet walk in the rain, sharing
a fond memory or a new concern?
What’s the color of his daughter-in-law’s soothing voice
calming her student’s upset parent?
What’s the color of listening to his young, energetic great
grandson tell a story about a white squirrel?
What’s the color of his infant great granddaughter asleep
on his chest, his heart still warmed by it?
The colors, he knows, will all be warm colors,
assorted reds and yellows,
then, another question:
What shape should the colors take?
Long lines to speak to distance in travel and age,
surely, and the blood’s generous spread,
and circles, too, embracing
and embraced in turn by love’s drive for union,
and somewhere a dot, the size of a mustard seed
or a womb-warmed egg,
to celebrate life’s hidden promise.
Endnote: This poem was fun, a notable departure, from poems about other trips to Vermont and elsewhere, forgetting about continuity and going for the unique times as I experienced them. I was happy to come up with one sentence to refer to each of the meaningful encounters which I may later expand upon but right now I like the way it worked out. Initially, I didn’t have the last section on “form” which I needed to have if I’m referring to abstraction as an art form. That is, art ie not merely preoccupation with color but the shape it takes as well. I still have an uncertainty about the poem, a feeling that I’m going to do something more with it.
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