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Poetry of Issue #8        Page 36

To Write a Painting

A big exposed root growing around and cuddling a boulder. Did the glacier deliberately drop this erratic here so the tree could claim it? The ancient Chinese painters would have loved this root as an invocation of the universal creative effort. The tree would love the ancient Chinese painters for appreciating its effort. The boulder, being object rather than subject, would probably decline to comment, even if that were possible. I’m not a painter and therefore not a Chinese painter, either. But I read a lot and take certain things seriously. Like Ezra Pound’s mistaken ideas about Chinese ideographs. He made his error into a virtue by catching the imagery, atmosphere, and mood of certain moments of Tang dynasty elegance. I wish I had his beard, but I would hate to have his hatreds. I used to have a shirt and vest-sweater identical to his. Wearing them didn’t make me hate anyone, but didn’t help me understand Chinese aesthetics. Surely not as much as this root has helped me. Look at how muscular it is. If I could cuddle a boulder this comfortably, I might feel inspired to write a painting (as the Chinese say) oblique enough to persuade.

  William Doreski