Thursday, September 13, 2012

Art is meant to inspire, and move

September Twelfth, 2001

Two caught on film who hurtle
from the eighty-second floor,
choosing between a fireball
and to jump holding hands,

aren't us. I wake beside you,
stretch,scratch, taste the air,
the incredible coffee
and the morning light.

Alive, we open eyelids
on our pitiful share of time,
we bubbles rising and bursting
in a boiling pot.                                                         

X.J. Kennedy

Oddly I ran across this poem yesterday, September 12. I try not to dwell much on the events 11 years ago, although the carnage of that day and the after effects that are still with us make it hard to forget for long.

The poem touched me as I—as well as almost everyone else—is a person in the last two stanzas. Awakening that morning, believing it was just another day, but soon realizing it wasn’t. Riveted to the television, watching with horror the events unravel and wondering when the next shoe would drop. Hurting and aching for the victims and their families, and quietly grateful that my family was close by, safe, and alive. Then later, facing the stark realization there is only but a short time on this earth, living our lives “like bubbles rising in a boiling pot and bursting, never to exist again.”

Strangely, in the same collection of poems I ran across another that hit home, and again it was contingent on the date, as the next day—today—is my youngest daughter’s birthday. This is the second year in a row that we are not together on this day, as she is away at college. No more cake and ice cream and balloons around the kitchen table, now a box in the mail, a text and later a phone call. The following poem is for any parent that has stood in the driveway and watched a child drive away into adulthood.

To a Daughter Leaving Home

When I taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
beside you
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,
pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming,
with laughter,
the hair flopping
behind you like a
handkerchief waving

Linda Pastan

The American Gothic House Center is devoted to art, primarily the art of one’s man’s ability to place a brush on canvas. But in the bigger picture, here, as well and hundreds of similar institutions across the country and the world, art in general is recognized as something that touches enough to move, to stir an emotion, to tread lightly on the soul. Paint on canvas has that ability, but also poetry, literature, motion pictures, the list goes on.

Embrace art in all of its many forms. Seek it out, observe it, read it and touch it, then, most importantly, allow it to touch you.

 Brian Chambers
Media Coordinator
The American Gothic House Center

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