When i was little, my mother would subject my sister and I to art classes that she would teach herself. She would set up our stained and shabby cabbage patchkids and GUNDS in an awkward still life and have us draw/paint in proportion and in perspective (extremely difficult when you're 7 and still confounding at times at...er...older!) using an array of different mediums. I could never sit still; becoming restless each time without fail and would secretly wish i was watching nickelodeon or tap dancing. Many years later, i realized that had she not instilled in me those skills and techniques as well as an appreciation for art, I most likely would not be where i am today.

Those art lessons were the beginning of life lessons which helped form the way I perceive, experience and react to the world. This poem is dedicated to my mother.

YOU BEGIN by Margaret Atwood

You begin this way:
this is your hand,
this is your eye,
that is a fish, blue and flat
on the paper, almost
the shape of an eye.
This is your mouth, this is an O
or a moon, whichever
you like. This is yellow.

Outside the window
is the rain, green
because it is summer, and beyond that
the trees and then the world,
which is round and has only
the colors of these nine crayons.

This is the world, which is fuller
and more difficult to learn than I have said.
You are right to smudge it that way
with the red and then
the orange: the world burns.

Once you have learned these words
you will learn that there are more
words than you can ever learn.
The word hand floats above your hand
like a small cloud over a lake.
The word hand anchors
your hand to this table,
your hand is a warm stone
I hold between two words.

This is your hand, these are my hands, this is the world,
which is round but not flat and has more colors
than we can see.

It begins, it has an end,
this is what you will
come back to, this is your hand.


big sistah said...

You know, I don't remember these lessons... even though I was supposedly there too.

captain S said...

well, you're either getting old or it's selective memory. my guess is you've got it stored in the same place as the time when i took you down and choked you with the vacuum cleaner hose.