The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Sunday

By James Schuyler

The black marble mantelpiece
reflects a green lamp and a white.
Above it, two red candles
and a dish of fruit, painted on velvet.
What bush is that, beside the door
that faces east, that will not loose its leaves?
Snowberry, I guess. And what kind of maple
fights the evening wind to keep some of its leaves?
A few fly by. An electric heater
hums and drowns out the evening wind.
Red filaments. The sullen day
wears off in a dull blue-gray
it almost hurts to see: so like
a mood that comes upon you
unawares, uninvited, unwanted,
like missing someone, and a long goodbye.


"One kind of poetry registers the physical world: words arranged to communicate the emotional power of the senses, the feeling of a visible reality," writes Robert Pinsky in Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "A different kind of poetry concentrates more strikingly on expressiveness: words arranged to create a voice, the feeling of a particular sensibility...the two categories overlap, strikingly so in the poems of James Schuyler, which are attentive to the evidence of the senses but with a distinctive personality. In 'Evening,' Schuyler emphasizes what he sees while also reflecting on it in his distinctive way."

Once again older son was out nearly all day at robotics and then a lengthy pre-calculus review session, while younger son volunteered in his place at Hebrew school, then came downtown with us as we dragged him to -- and I quote -- a "lame art museum," namely the National Gallery's East Wing, where we intended to see the Hopper exhibit during its last couple of weeks but decided that the hour-plus wait, coupled with our lack of passion for Hopper, made this relatively undesirable so we went to the other galleries instead, then walked the planetary display on the Air & Space side of the National Mall. Younger son made it very clear that he has been to more than his share of art museums in the past eight weeks, so in honor of this announcement, I present the following:

1. The name of this sculpture by Tony Smith is:
  1) The Snake Is Out.
  2) Untitled.
  3) Parking By Permit Only. (Yes, that is what the sign in front of it says.)

2. The three sculptures by David Smith in this photo are:
  1) Circle 1, Circle 2 and Circle 3.
  2) Circle 3, Circle 2 and Circle 1.
  3) LAME.

3. The mobile in this photo is notable because:
  1) It is one of several pieces by Alexander Calder entitled Untitled.
  2) From certain angles it looks like it is going to knock people down.
  3) If you stand on the balcony with dozens of other people and blow really hard, you might be able to make it turn.

4. These people are all waiting in line to see the Edward Hopper exhibit because they:
  1) Enjoy contemporary American art.
  2) Appreciate the influence of Nighthawks on other artists.
  3) Are boring and want to impress other people by being there.

5. The metal cube in this photo is:
  1) A steel sculpture called Die by Tony Smith.
  2) A means of crowd control for mezzanine level exhibits.
  3) Something the National Gallery should not have wasted money on.

6. The best title for this painting would be:
  1) Reconciliation Elegy (which is what the artist, Robert Motherwell, called it).
  2) Untitled (which is the most popular title for modern art).
  3) Cow (which is what my son thinks it looks like).

7. This sculpture is:
  1) Venus by Aristide Maillol.
  2) Contemporary as opposed to classical.
  3) Fat.

8. If your son answered #3 to the last question, after answering #3 to all previous questions, the most appropriate first response as a parent would be to:
  1) Scold him for his rudeness and insensitivity.
  2) Give a lecture about female body commodification with artistic examples.
  3) Start singing "I like big butts and I cannot lie" in the National Gallery. (That's right. Just fire me as a mother right now.)</center>

In the late afternoon we picked up older son from school, where he seemed to be very happy despite it being a weekend and ready to go back for another long day of robotics on Sunday. The evening has consisted of stopping at Giant for toilet paper, then Packers/Seahawks followed by Patriots/Jaguars games. Ask me if I care who won? Not really, though I will root for the Giants against Dallas tomorrow, and may consider rooting for the Giants against the Packers should that game follow!

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