Saturday, April 17, 2010

Inspired by a Marge Piercy Poem

vintage bluebird trading card

I headed out to my Thursday painting group this week only to discover that it had been canceled, and I was not informed.  Rather than stew over this inconvenience I headed out for a latte and a browse through a local used book store, where I found a good copy of The Moon is Always Female, poems by Marge Piercy.  This one stood out for me.  When people say that I am talented (this doesn't happen every day by any means) I always think that a decent painting is more the result of years of working at it than some trait I inherited from my mother or great aunt, like straight hair or green eyes.  Anyway, I liked the poem.

For the young who want to

Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed.  Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems.  Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
and ask why you don't have a baby,
call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.'s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else's mannerisms

is that every artist lacks
a license to hand on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you're certified a dentist.

The real writer is one
who really writes.  Talent
is an invention like pholgiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure.  You have to
like it better than being loved.


Teri C said...

Beautiful bluebird!
Wonderful poem!! And so true.

Yevgenia Watts said...

I have to post it on my blog now. So very true.

Nice bird, too.

Oh, and thanks for stopping by!

Sharon said...

This is going into my journal!

Andrea Schensky said...

Hello! I was hoping to use your bluebird painting for my grandmother's memorial card. She absolutely loved bluebirds and this is the perfect one. Thanks so much!