My usual approach is to select a poem, write something about it, then try to find a suitable illustration, photo or otherwise.
However, while skimming through my backlog of pictures, I ran across my own photo of a wheelbarrow ... an old, old wheelbarrow loaded with wood, sitting beside a reconstructed log cabin ... so I began with it instead.
I took the photo because the composition appealed to me ... the horizontals of the cabin, the sweep of the wheelbarrow bed, the slightly skewed circle of the wheel, the curving ends of the sticks of wood.
I snapped it as a possibility for a future painting. I'm intrigued by old things, the challenge of preserving that look, but with a touch of freshness in the painting itself.
In this case, I also gave the photo a sepia tone, thus enhancing the feeling of oldness. I may or may not try to carry that over into an eventual painting.
The photo selection made, the choice of a poem remained.
Aha! I remembered this one, "Dare I Ask?" True enough, it's about a wheelbarrow, but a much younger one than that in the photo.
It's mainly that hand-lettered sign that lingers in my memory, those moments of standing there, looking at that sign, imagining the red wheelbarrow and all its possibilities.
It's a poem about human frailty. We're stopped in our tracks by the prospect of owning something we need not, must not, have. And yet we're tempted, at least, to take a look.
DARE I ASK?
"Red Wheelbarrow for Sale," says
the small hand-lettered sign that
flutters like a special invitation to me
as I slow my pace, pause to look.
I'm intrigued. Not green, nor gray,
nor just a plain old wheelbarrow,
but red. I can see myself strolling
home pushing that beautiful red ...
What am I doing? I don't really
need one, haven't a place to put it,
my wife would probably kill me.
Still, maybe just a quick peek?
(originally published in Capper's)
Today's word: peek