Losing Sight No. 2

Car and trucks approach from my left.
I see a dip in each roof:
A red Honda, a yellow Morris, a white Taurus,
Even a huge tractor-trailer.
As traffic slowly passes on the street
I watch from my table
In Starbucks’ sidewalk café.
As each car or truck crawls or lumbers
directly before me
I see its roof. become level until
Slowly moving past me, to my right,
each roof collapses on its left,
And bulges on its right as if inside
Even the Morris were nine clowns or maybe more
Planning to debark in the center ring
Under the tent of a very large circus.

In a Volvo on the Capitol Beltway
I ask my friend, who is driving,
Whether the spires on the monumental
Mormon temple ahead on the right
Are straight or wavy.
She takes her eyes off the road for a second,
Looks at me in the shotgun seat
And says “Straight, of course.”
They look wavy to me, I tell her.
I have lost sight of the world of straight lines,
The verticals, horizontals, and angular corners.
You would not want me as your
Engineer or architect.
But if your view of the world
Is too straight and narrow,
And you’re looking for wild and wavy lines
I am your woman.
An Ambler grid—a small sheet of graph paper—
Is used to detect eye damage—macular degeneration.
Wavy lines are the sign.
Another sign: when cars compress
And the whole world looks like a circus.

Marguerite Beck-Rex –
July 2010


About inkpaintwords

A feminist writer and artist with a penchant for all things French, living in Washington DC. My love of language led me, indirectly, to my pleasure in gardening, drawing and watercolor. It began with a book, a collection of New Yorker garden columns by Katherine White, wife of its founding editor E.B.White. Her enthusiastic appraisal of the literary merit of various garden catalogs led me to collect and keep her favorites as well as to hoard with them some more recently-emerged seed, bulb and seed catalogs. The beautiful catalogs inspired me to little by little turn our entire front lawn (our home had a wooded ravine close behind) into a garden. That grew into a lovely site with two simple arches, a gliding bench on a little sitting patio and modest slate paths winding through beds of shade lovers and whatever plants supposedly in need of full sun that I could manage to coax into colorful healthy bloom. A curiosity about color and color theory emerged as I became keenly interested in impressionist painters; that interest merged in some way with my urge to garden. I acquired more than one book about Monet’s garden and gardens of other impressionist painters, both French and American. One day I picked up a magazine for painters, and found inside an article about a painter I’d known. Among examples of her splendid watercolor paintings was her watercolor of her garden at that time. Suddenly I could think of nothing more exciting than painting my garden. I enrolled in her watercolor class in The Art League in Alexandria, VA. The influence that the collection of Katherine White’s columns about the literary merits of certain garden catalogs has had on my life has come full now. Ink, Paint & Words combines what has become an obsession with drawing and watercolor with my passion for language. Yes, I still garden. A table full of blooming potted plants sits on my apartment patio, backed by an ivy covered fence with park trees behind. My patio, and my larger environment of Washington DC, together provides wonderful vistas for drawing and painting. For a number of years annual trips to France gave me and my companions extravagantly colorful panoramas and charming tableaux for brush and pen. And yes, now I’ve painted in Monet’s gardens several times. But that, as they say, is another story.
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2 Responses to Losing Sight No. 2

  1. patrisearts says:

    if your view of the world
    Is too straight and narrow,
    And you’re looking for wild and wavy lines
    I am your woman.

    beautiful! touching, scary, sweet and wry.
    beautiful work, my friend!

  2. Pingback: Poet, Feminist, Francophile, Painter: Marguerite Beck-Rex « Art, Spirit, Nature

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