Sunday, September 24, 2017

sunset golden light

sunset golden light
a man with a pole wading
in the low river

Record-breaking heat in late September. During a break between choir rehearsal and the John Williams concert at the Ottumwa Bridge View Center, I step out of the cool hall in my long black concert attire. After this summer's drought, the Des Moines River runs quite low, revealing shoals of gravel. A man is wading in the shallows. He pokes around on the bottom with a pole that has a small round attachment on one end. I don't think he's fishing. He seems to be searching for something. Could it be a metal detector? Or a little seine for scooping up gold-laden gravel? The only gold I see is cast by the setting sun on the bridge piers. They look like angels with outspread wings holding up humans on their incessant journeys back and forth across the waters.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

rust on a steel pan

rust on a steel pan --
slow decay from exposure
to water and neglect

Rust, a sure sign of degradation. Left outside, the iron in this pan is becoming iron oxide, turning from gray to orange, from smooth to flaky. Eventually, the entire pan will disintegrate.

We've all experienced the heartbreak of rust. Rusted cars, rusty nails you don't dare step on, rusted bridges that collapse, whole industrial zones based on steel that now bear the epithet "Rust Belt."

But once again, as with so many anomalies, I find this pan beautiful. Something that was once plain is now adorned, if only briefly, with a colorful and intriguing pattern. I can easily imagine this as a work of art in a museum. Just search for images of rust art and you'll see what I see.

if you open the box

if you open the box
will you encounter a Faun
or coils of phone wires?

Graffiti is mysterious, at least to those who don't know the language. But I do know that word, Narnia, from the seven novels by C. S. Lewis. In this fantasy series, four children evacuated from London during WWII find a wardrobe in a country house that leads to Narnia. There they meet a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood and many other magical beings, including the great lion Aslan.

So why has someone written NARNIA on a telephone cable interconnect box? Is this the name adopted by a gang? Did the same person, or a rival, spray paint a big blue X through the word? And what, if anything, is the meaning of the minnow-like smudges in an oval under the word? Were they just the artist wiping paint from fingers, or some secret code?

Unlike Pandora, I did not open the box. Not physically, anyway.