Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wyeth at Kuerners

A certain sense and smell of snow and earth mixed together in the air when the old farmer stomped in. Brushstrokes of brown, calligraphic slashes on the white snowfield of the paper, the stark line of a hill punctuated by a coated walked and a heeling dog. No one who hasn't lived on farms knows that smell, freshness and rot conjoined. It's even in the walls of the old house. Where a hook hangs from the ceiling, a few woman's hairs dangling from its lip. All violence is inner this cold morning; but never far away. Pages thrown into old drawers, lines leaping. Hitching pants up to cross over the fallen stone fence. Slash of trees, the eye catches, stops, resists, lingers, loves. It's not a grid, don't see it like that. There aren't any straight lines in nature; but that fence, the barn, the house looking low from the hillside, tall from the meadow, all perspective and separation. People see what they want to see, that's all. Something hard behind warm eyes, in the white room above the sundrunk summer lawn, just as white, whiter, crisper, with the mud tracks of winter trudge and tailing. Over back of the fenceline, angle of hill, just so. A thousand pines filled with sparrows. That was a good dog.

the boy returns
to the hills he wandered—
the first snowdrop

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