Today I’ve resumed painting. So far I’ve finished two wooden picture frames, a hand-carved wooden dough bowl (bottom only), a small floor cabinet, my fingers, my nose, elbows and forearm, two small wooden blocks and the Pottery Barn cabinet I mentioned yesterday. And I still have about a third of a quart-sized can of flat black paint. Got anything you need painted black? If you hurry on over, I could probably get it done by suppertime.
I don’t know where all this creative energy has come from, but Hubby has caught it too–no doubt from me. While I’m painting and dreaming up more organization and cleaning projects, he’s helping out with sanding and other chores, and is generally grateful that I’m playing card games less this week.
All the while we’re working away, I’m hearing this poem going through my head, one I discovered years ago though I could remember neither the author nor where I read it. It’s hard to hide anything ever published these days, and sure enough I found it. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I learned it was written by a Utah poet. May Swenson, who I learned died in 1989, is considered–according to Wikipedia–one of the most important and original poets of the 20th century. She was the oldest of 10 children born to a Mormon immigrant couple. The family regularly spoke Swedish and English was a second language. May graduated from Utah State University in Logan in 1939 and taught poetry at several prestigious universities.
As I read this gem again, and especially as I ‘m still splotched with black paint as read and type, it seemed doubly appropriate to share with you here in Wintersong. If you don’t enjoy it, all I can say is what got YOU up on the wrong side of bed today?! All kidding aside, this is probably one of those times when I discover that almost everybody else already knew about her and, while I’ve known this one for years, I learn today that I have many more May Swenson discoveries ahead of me . . . as soon as I finish painting.
I painted the mailbox. That was fun.
I painted it postal blue.
Then I painted the gate.
I painted a spider that got on the gate.
I painted his mate.
I painted the ivy around the gate.
Some stones I painted blue,
and part of the cat as he rubbed by.
I painted my hair. I painted my shoe.
I painted the slats, both front and back,
all their beveled edges, too.
I painted the numbers on the gate–
I shouldn’t have, but it was too late.
I painted the posts, each side and top,
I painted the hinges, the handle, the lock,
several ants and a moth asleep in a crack.
At last I was through.
I’d painted the gate
shut, me out, with both hands dark blue,
as well as my nose, which,
early on, because of a sudden itch,
got painted. But wait!
I had painted the gate.