|I have no idea who the artist is, but this vintage painting reminds me very much of the one I speak of in this poem.|
There are things I wish
I had taken from my fathers
House before the move.
Funny how the mind can
Mature in a span of four years,
But here I am reassembling
A life I tried to forget:
A country community of
Late 80’s mom and pop resurrections,
Tiny grocery stores with paper doll books
And a summer’s worth of
Movie-watching for wide eyes,
Moon eyes my mother would call me
When, at the age of 12, I exchanged
Sleep for books and film.
I am a mother now and
I miss the innocence that childhood
Loans us in those few short years
Of finger-painting and doll-dressing,
The magic-come-to-life kind of way
I used to watch the cornstalks
Sway in farm fields until darkness fell
And they became boneless ghosts
To dance their rituals beneath a hangnail moon.
I miss pulling straw from my hair,
The adventure of bath-time play and the
Voyages that, in make-believe, I made
From soft couches and too-fat pillows
That rocked me like a rowing boat,
And the games of chess and porch-talk
With the neighborhood elderly, old-timey
confederates who missed the old days.
I miss time spent dreaming on a soft-shag rug
While gazing into a vintage painting at
Some snowy winter scape, a place I could
Lose my wiles for hours without worry.
The thing I’d want most, now, out
Of all those boxes of strong china and silverware,
Of wineglasses, old bottles of cologne and aftershave,
Of the grade school cheerleading uniforms,
Nor even a cassette tape collection galore could
Pull my hands from the delicately-smearedAcrylic of an ideal winter, were those moving boxes here.
I guess this poem is really about growing older and beginning to realize the important things...like old vintage paintings that hung across the walls of your childhood home before it was sold.
It is true, on sweltering summer days I used to lay on a soft, shaggy rug and gaze into the wintery snow scape that hung on the wall to the left of our front door. The inside-wall air conditioner sat snug in the wall across the room behind me so that if I laid in just the right position, I could feel the cold air caress my body. I'd lay there for long periods of time during the boring days of summer break, gazing into that picture, feeling the cool air land across my skin....imagining that scene. Was it real? Imagined? Had someone sat by a window and painted the outside scenery on a winter day long before I was ever born? When I gazed into that old painting, I felt almost as if I were touching history, momentarily transporting myself to another place and time.
It wasn't until recently that I remembered the picture. Perhaps a few days ago as I watched my daughter dance beneath the first snowfall of the year, small and short as it was.
The painting is long gone, now. Sold in a garage sale, I was told. I only hope that wherever it is, it's found a warm, safe home. And that, just maybe, some kid, somewhere, may one day gaze dreamily into that work of art instead of the blank, shiny face of an ipad.
And that's really what the poem is about...the old days. The innocent, interpersonal time before technology stole so many precious moments from us. This poem is reminiscent of my childhood, back in the 80's and early 90's. And I'm so happy I was able to live mine without high tech gadgets and screens kids have lost themselves in these days!