My daughter tells me I need an “art mind” because, without one, I will never comprehend the beauty that is a brick turned on its side with steel poles pushed through it and displayed under bright lights in a gallery. And she’s right. I’m okay with this, though, since other people have told me something similar when it comes to appreciating poetry.
Details and explanations mean a lot to me so when I look at a piece of art or read a poem that someone has poured their heart and soul into, I usually think huh? and ask for them to just get to the point: Why do I have to guess at their meaning or translate it for myself? Why don’t they just tell me what they’re trying to say? It’s like charades in a way and people can get really pissed off when you don’t guess correctly. It is rather annoying.
But I can appreciate when something looks or sounds interesting. I have one favorite poem called The Supple Deer by Jane Hirschfield. I get it. I mean, I really, really GET IT. I think. I’m pretty sure I do. And if I don’t then it doesn’t really matter because it is a truly beautiful string of words she just made there.
The quiet opening
between fence strands
perhaps eighteen inches.
Antlers to hind hooves,
four feet off the ground,
the deer poured through it.
No tuft of the coarse white belly hair left behind.
I don’t know how a stag turns
into a stream, an arc of water.
I have never felt such accurate envy.
Not of the deer—
To be that porous, to have such largeness pass through me.
And yesterday, around the moment my kid told me I have no eye for the true beauty in art, I saw these. Sure, they’re just boxes and the focus was on geometry (sadly, something else I will never comprehend), but they are pretty boxes. I might actually like to have one of them inside my house, though I’m honestly shooting for a Florida Highwaymen painting to be my first big artsy purchase.
All artwork is by Eric Wright: