This poem was my first literary attempt and was written for a creative writing class in 1982 my freshman year in college. At that time the painting was exhibited in a museum in Madison, Wis where I was born and lived until 1983.
This painting in oils, strange.
It is neither large nor small,
But comfortably middle.
This painting hangs in museums,
Drawing people to comment:
Its style, its colour.
For its colour is new: whites, grays, blacks.
It is a young painting waiting to be tinted.
It is entitled “Young People With Ducks”.
Why Ducks? These ducks, cast in bright,bold
yellow strokes, move with vibrant motion.
Why Ducks? Chosen perhaps because they are
rooted to the earth, clipped. Strange.
Two groups of Young People, boys and girls.
Are they groups? They mingle, meld, swirl in
confusion: or is there a purpose to their dance?
They are one with each other, black, brooding,
blending with the background. Strange.
Background of buildings, thick, squat, lines
indistinct; large, long sweeps painted hurriedly.
Almost, as if, shimmering in the haze of summer,
but trees are bare brown with winter.
For winter it is, snow, low grey clouds, cold
blanketing the blurred house. Strange.
But no, there is a house that is clear.
It has crisp lines, windows with crosspieces.
Rectangular, that chimney has individual bricks,
perched on a roof with shingles.
It is a special place: for whom? Strange.
Yet another figure, perhaps it is a boy,
physically young, in outline only.
Invisible, not seen by the Young People,
nor seen by the Ducks.
Only we viewers see this boy, lonely;
A gate is opened,
Memories flow out,
Remembrances of a past time.
For awhile, we are that boy. Strange