This is the literary weblog of Jeffrey W. Hull, M.D., a pediatrician. It is intended mainly as a place to maintain a collection of poetry created for the enjoyment of a few friends and as an archive for my family. All material is protected by US copyright.

Jeffrey Hull

Friday, November 18, 2005

If You Could Paint

Could you but paint that which you see
Your brush would roil eternity,
And shake the pillars of the land
To grind the mountains down to sand.
Could you but write that which you hear
Your pen would sing a song so clear
That men who knew not of your tongue
Would weep with every song you sung.
Take up your brush and take your quill
And shake them at the sky until
The heavens bearing not your shout
Relent to let your vision out.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull


Hey Jeff, this one brings many thoughts to my own approach to painting. Your email, which cited a line from an email that you received, really got my attention after reading your poem. The start of that quote, "If only I could paint that which I see.." prompted me to want to put quotation marks around "I." My first reading of the line caused me to think of an artist attempting to duplicate, per se, what they might be looking at which is of course quite the opposite of an abstract (romantic/ minimalist) painter like myself. Then as I reread your poem the lines "Could you but write that which you hear" seemed to embrace my own approach to both the poetry that I attempt and the "pictures" I paint. I find that line very profound in the context of your poem. Thanks for a wonderful start to the weekend!
Thanks Dan. Although I did not sit down and plot out the meaning before writing - it just slipped out - for me the poem has at least two thrusts: First, that art is hard, and requires a commitment to making the effort to "shout" it out and not back down. Also, that many of us have artistic statements to make, but do not trust ourselves enough to make them. If only we knew what wondrous things are locked inside of us, we could "roil eternity," "grind the mountains down to sand," and cause Men ... to weep with every song (we) sung." So we take up our brush or quill, and defiantly struggle until the "heavens ... relent to let (our) vision out." That vision of the poem was inside me all along, and needed only a seemingly offhand stimulus to let it out. That is the wonder of it; a moment in life I am glad to have experienced.
Bravo! I agree! Wholeheartedly!
"I might as well be writing to the sky ..."

Emily Dickinson

"It's like painting to a brick wall."

Famously anonymous graffitist, Kilroy the IV

The Raj's take on instantaneous creations like this, courtesy Luois Pasteur:

"Chance favors the prepared mind."

You have the chassis for this and a hundred other poems already designed and preassembled in the conjure recess of your mind. 'conjure recess' is one of those self-consciously contrived tropes that nonetheless earns its stay.

ALl that's needed is a concept introduced in such a way that it completes the blueprint.

This process seems to favor poetry and song, both forms leaning to modest rather than imense scope. But I have read of authors having the bones of a story, small or epic, suddenly materialize in their thoughts... wait, wait... things don't 'materialize in our thoughts. That would be like having a light bulb go off inside one's head. Cranial explosion. Ahem... "...suddenly MANIFEST in their thoughts, providing a many-roomed house and a seemingly inexhaustible decorating budget, the infilling of which requires only aesthetic indulgence and, hopefully, some exercise of pertinent restraint.

Says moi that IF Biblical Genesis is true, then 87 days 'twere.

"It just came to me in a flash", spoke Yahweh between coughing fits of rolling thunder; he was none too young anymore for -- as pictures attest -- he was already well-advanced in years, grey unto white, when he first touched Adam's Rib with his last and finest inspiration, the human female. "A whirlwind of creative frenzy. I scarcely knew what I was doing before, lo, it was done. The creative process is a mystery to me."

Ain't it the truth?
Ahem... 7 not 87. Dang sporites get into EVERYthing...
Ahem... sprites not sporites. Dang sporites get into EVERYthing... ;)
Jeff: Thanks for the beautifully worded encouragement.

BlueRajah: A tip of the hat for "his last and finest inspiration."

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