13 Ways of Looking at a Springtime Dogwood

Walking around downtown the other evening and at my apartment the past
few days, I noticed a peculiar aroma following me everywhere I
went.  It smelled almost like the pungent scent of stale (ahem)
urine–I know, not a pleasant thought, but I couldn’t shake it so I
began to wonder if some critter had wee-weed on my jacket when I wasn’t
looking.  I sniffed everywhere on my person before realising that
the slightly distasteful fragrance was in fact the smell of dogwood
blossoms!  Dogwoods have sprung out everywhere with their ghostly
white flowers, and while they are very pretty they do not smell so nice
at a distance.

Well, in honour on the new season and its herald dogwoods, I thought
I’d share with you this poem from the days of my old college creative
writing class.  Enjoy (smile)…

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a (Springtime) Dogwood

Written
in appreciation of the dogwood blossoms, with much humble honour to e.
e. cummings, William Carlos Williams, William Faulkner, Wordsworth,
Spenser, and such others as might find glimpses of themselves within
these lines…

I

A cloud descended
upon

the hardened stalk.

II

Blossoms white stretch forth

And yet no fruit produce.

III

Dust

Outburst

Grin

Window

Orphan

Ordinary

Dust

IV

Denied the sunlight of the higher boughs,

Yet do your petals shine with
glory faint…

The blue between your leaves,
like flecks of paint,

Does seem to force your limber
arms to bow.

V

At night the ghostly dogwood rises to become

the misty halo of meaning

within my darkest heart

VI

A gentle rustle

provokes the man

to lift his face

and
watch the swaying sound

with his blind eyes

VII

The young boy perched his hat anew,
kicked his feet at the whole world, spat and wiped his mouth on a
ragged sleeve, and leaned again against the trunk of the old dogwood.

VIII

Each blossom feels another yet none is the source of another’s

Life

IX

Spindly thing–

You crowd beneath my shoulder

You say my great green threats are empty–

Well, before you step on giants’ toes

You better learn respect.

X

Like a barber staring down

Upon an old white crown

An aged mop

Atop

A green blanket

XI

The cat cried aloud
as unwilling people passed by,

unnoticing, uncaring, unfeeling

and the claws dug deeper

growing with growing fear

into the limb five feet above

the
root of Jesse’s dogwood tree.

XII

I want to climb that one he says

You cant climb that one I says

Why not he says

Its too small I says

Lets walk farther I says

Which way he says

Any way I says

We cant he says

We dont have time he says

I nods

I and he touch the dogwood

XIII

The hungriest blossom feels the warmest Star.

 

The Power of Perspective…?

These pictures of of an English sidewalk artist who gives a
three-dimensional appearance to his artwork.  When viewed from a
specific angle, you can see how they appear to grow out of the sidewalk
(smile).  It reminds me of an old painting by Hans Holbeim the
Younger which had a long white smear along its base–when the canvas
was bent and turned to the side, the white blur actually showed itself
to be a painting of a human skull (“Holbein” means “hollow bone,” so it
may have been his way of signing the artwork).  Anyway, thought
you all might enjoy…

I prefer Pepsi to Coke, but I won’t hold that against the Limey (smile).

Anyone else wondering if he’s getting paid for these little commercials of his?  Coke…Rembrandt art supplies…

This reminds me of an illustration Frank gave in a sermon once, about how we are all like toy ships…do you all remember it?

So in this one it seems as if the little man is standing atop a giant
globe, but below we see how the sidewalk painting is actually nearly
forty feet in length…

From this point of view, it seems much more a grotesque blob.  The
power of perspective, huh?  I suppose the same is true
spiritually–when we lose the vision of the Cross, everything becomes
grotesque.  This can happen even with spiritual things
themselves!  Our view of grace, for example…if it becomes
somehow distorted so that we suspect we earned any part of it, it
becomes a monster and a wicked philosophy.   We could then
begin to exclude certain folks from it, as if they were less worthy
than ourselves.  May God grant that we have the mind and attitude
of Christ, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our
faith!…