Saturday, September 14, 2013



I'm musing about art in its many forms tonight. This morning when I started scrolling through Facebook updates I saw a picture of a sculpture that had been vandalized, and it's been bothering me all day. Venus de Cello, which I first saw when it was part of Castlegar's Sculpture Walk in 2011, is carved in granite. It managed to survive unscathed being on display in Castlegar for over a year. This year it got moved to Nelson and became the second sculpture to get knocked over there in the last couple of months.

Peter Vogelaar, who created the piece, is famous in sand sculpting circles. He and his partners have won competitions all over the world. But he doesn't only sculpt sand; he works in other mediums as well. 

I'm borrowing the picture from CSW's website. I'm sure I have one of my own, but I can't locate it at the moment. I do have a few pictures, taken this summer, of Peter working on a sand sculpture for display in this year's Sculpture Walk. Ted and I took our grandson, Kyran, to see the sculptures in progress, an absolutely fascinating thing to watch if you ever get the chance. Peter took time out to show Kyran a thing or two about how he works with the sand. 
The theme this year was fairy tales. Peter did an interpretation of The Frog Prince.
Peter showing Kyran the nifty little device he has that allows him to make convex shapes

Detail of a face Peter sculpted
I guess I'm upset because when someone's art is devalued, everyone's is. Someone on one of the comment streams about the vandalism said that art is a waste of time and money. Someone else said Venus de Cello is "sexist art" because it suggested a woman was an instrument, which begs the question, how about looking at it as an homage to a beautiful form interpreted as a beautiful instrument? And I guess I'm sad because there are people who won't or can't take the time to consider someone else's rendering of the world around us. 

A week's gone by and it's time to post another selection of cards. I'm still  posting them as written—not that I don't want to edit, but I think it's interesting to see where poems begin. That the first one is a picture of a sculpture just seems right.

“From the mountain edges, all the caves will appear peaceful
            and the road will seem as it were.”
                                    Ghassan Zaqtan

            Nobody said he did it on purpose
            the fellow who drove the truck
that took the wrong road
(the one with the “this road
is no longer serviced” sign
posted in two places)
that plunged down the bank
to the lemony creek
and spilled the fuel that
killed the fish and changed
a valley forever.

“Maybe because she was old, she thought,
she increasingly loved the pretty.”
                        Jennifer Maiden

Out in his shop my husband
turns an urn for my mother
who is not dead, nor even
planning to be immediately
though at 93 it’s less of
an impossibility of the imagination
than it used to be. The other
day she went for a swim
in the glacier-fed lake. She says
when she’s ready she’ll drink a
gin and tonic, swim straight out,
resist all efforts of assistance.
I wonder if ashes can swim.

“where/each stone is another
stone’s resistance to
the heaven far/beneath it”
                        Alan Shapiro

            Sixteen, sullen as day-old bread
            my parents dragged me to Europe,
            (as much a trail for them as me)
            I tried so hard not to have fun
            I wore my pout out
            and then one day in Rouen,
            my eyes raised to the joyful
            colours of stained glass and sunlight,
            I was changed, humbled by
beauty, in no hurry to leave
at last.

“Do I like us? Can I love us?
If anyone comes
first it’s him, but how can that be?”
                        Brenda Shaughnessy

His first shoes were moccasins,
tiny, soft buttery leather
adorned with some kind of fur
and alarming orange laces.
Worn exactly once, a gift
from Martha, whose own son had
disappeared in a flurry of unwed
Catholic adoption rites in 1967
her centennial project, she said.
My son’s feet so large now
the moccasins won’t even go
on his big toe, but I still have them
close by, a reminder of how things
change, Martha gone now, my son
all grown, and hers still out there
somewhere, filling shoes of his own.

“Every poet at times must wonder if he’s
a victim of a plot.”
                        David W. McFadden

We walked on stilts crafted from shells
washed up on beaches made of words
—took a pounding, those words,
we could only tell they were angry
when they changed meanings
halfway thru a sentence,
the kind you’re subjected to
when you’ve done something
somebody thinks is wrong.
It's a plot, I tell you,
crafty words gone AWOL
when most we need them,
some disguised as mountains,
a few scooped and expectant,
lying in our hands.

“(his kind young teacher with the ringing voice
he loves so much he lets the story sing
into his heart)” James Pollock

A Child’s Garden of Questions

Does he love the teacher or the voice
and would he love his teacher
were they not young and kind
and how does a story sing
when really, it’s lying flat on the page
and who says anything can enter
a heart except blood such as that
which flows when the bell rings
to end a round in a boxing ring,
probably the kind thing to do,
and why does this epigraph leak
into my heart so, and when,
when will the story end?

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