Wing to Wing

 Much the same as a bird convincing its brood that their wings will indeed lift them, in his poem The Master Speed, Robert Frost describes the incipient power of their union to a young couple.  “No speed of wind or water rushing by” though, this is something far beyond the physical realm.

  At the heart of the “master speed” is “the power of standing still” – the ability to simply be fully present and find the mundane extraordinary. Ironic the difficulty that pace presents to assume, especially in these harried days.  But only thus can a way begun to be found to live lives “wing to wing and oar to oar”.

  Frost spent a few years at the same college from which I graduated and that thought took me to my freshman year roommate.  He’s now an artist and in 2003 produced a series which comprised his Monogamy Project. 

  In the catalogue he wrote “ Painting and monogamy are dated practices oversteeped in tradition and held in suspicion.  Having thus been marginalized they become, surprisingly, areas that are ripe again for truly liberative activity.  It is my intention to celebrate these options.”

  There are six paintings in the series: Was a boy; Was adolescent; Am a man; Is a woman; Is a cellist; Am a father.

  Here’s Am a Man:

Stockwell Am a Man

  At first it surprised me that therewith my artist friend discussed the philandering of poet William Carlos Williams.  He includes Williams’ poem Asphodel, That Greeny Flower in which a tortured regret and plea for forgiveness are conveyed.  “Having your love, I was rich…”

I get it now.

  Here’s Is A Woman:

Stockwell Is a Woman

  Here he allows himself to “make this a beautiful painting… Follow all of my desires that call for full color and ripe shapes… To desire is to be alive… Desire gets us off the couch…”  Being my father’s son, and even though he wasn’t much into poetry, I get this part right away.

  The catalogue, in its entirety, comprises a provocative “love poem” and at the end of a recent reading I reconsidered Frost’s beautiful metaphor of wings and oars.  The visual images of the generative rhythms pop up right away, but what gives it its power is thought of the epic voyage that follows. 

*Craig Stockwell is the erstwhile roommate.  www.craigstockwell.com

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One Response to “Wing to Wing”

  1. Craig Says:

    Just found this while browsing. Thanks so much for the thought and insight!

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