The Artist’s Vision – A Poem

2/27/14 Update: I had to share this again at dVerse for the MeetingTheBar character sketch poem. There are actually 3 characters in this poem which recounts what my son calls my “most badass mom” moment.

The poetry prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today is to get in our time-machine and write a poem about history. The assignment was fairly wide open. The poem could be about my history, the history of our country, or anything that happened before today.

Since I spent the morning with my son and husband at The Art Institute of Portland’s open house trying to figure out if that is where my son will go to school when he graduates from high school next year, I decided to write a poem about my son and his artistic history. In honor of the Form for All lesson this past Thursday on dVerse, I decided to write it as a pantoum.

This poem is about a moment in my son’s history that almost stopped the young artist from continuing with his passion for drawing. He was taking an after school art class in the second grade and they were drawing snow scenes on a day that was the first snow of the year here in Lake Oswego. I left work early because of the snow and went to pick him up before class was over. As I walked down the hall, I heard the teacher yelling at one of the kids to stay in his seat, “And I mean it!” she said. I was shocked to enter the room and realize she was yelling at my son, who had left his seat to look out the window at the snow for inspiration for his drawing (which was almost finished, by the way). I pulled him out of that class immediately and got a refund.

For several months after that he would not draw, which was very uncharacteristic of him. For him, drawing had always been an almost daily event. I am thankful that after a great deal of encouragement from me and other teachers he returned to his passion and has been honing his artistic skills ever since.

The Artist’s Visions

Creativity courses through his veins
Seeping from his pores and his fingertips
In his mind the vision stopped remains
The teacher‘s scolding leaves her cruel lips

Seeping from his pores and his fingertips
Seeking inspiration from the snowfall
The teacher‘s scolding leaves her cruel lips
Causing the young artist to feel so small

Seeking inspiration from the snowfall
To his rescue comes the one who loves him
Causing the young artist to feel so small
Will be but a memory that grows dim

To his rescue comes the one who loves him
Encouragement to keep drawing on her lips
Will not be a memory that grows dim
As visions of melting snow from eaves drips

Encouragement to keep drawing on her lips
In his mind the vision stopped remains
As visions of melting snow from eaves drips
Creativity courses through his veins

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27 Comments

Filed under Faith, Family, Life, Poetry

27 responses to “The Artist’s Vision – A Poem

  1. For a teacher to behave so is so horrible to witness and crushing for a child to experience. Glad you were the kick-ass mama who did what was right for your son! And so very VERY glad he is pursuing his art! Great write my friend.

    • Thanks. I’m glad he’s pursuing his art as a career, too. There are so many opportunities for animators and cartoonists these days. And whenever he get’s knocked down, I’m glad he knows I will be there to help him get back up again. Peace, Linda

  2. rmp

    I like the way the characters are intertwined here within the pantoum. It can be hard to recapture a passion when someone knocks you down; lucky he had you to help pick him back up.

    • I’m the lucky one, to have him for a son. :) And it tickles me when he says he remembers this (he’s almost 19 now) as my most badass moment. He was very aware of me coming to his rescue and that does a mother’s heart good. Peace, Linda

  3. What a teacher really can do — both good but also very bad… I think children can handle some criticism but it has to be done in the best possible way… And it’s so difficult to do it right. I really like the painting in the picture.. Is it his?

  4. Love your use of the poetry form here…heartfelt poem that conveys exactly how they must feel or we felt when no encouraged or praised…good on you.

  5. How can art be done wrong? As observers, we have the right to not enjoy…but not the right to say it’s wrong. Art is personal expression. Sorry…just had to rant a bit

  6. I think you are right about your son becoming stronger for having experienced a few bad teachers…while many artists find they must struggle against something to express their creative nature I think art is and should be a positive and joyful experience

  7. What a blessing you are to him, I’m sure that he knows. We home-school our little ones, in our community the parents aim to bring out the inner abilities of the children. I wouldn’t have it any other way especially with the possibility of placing them with a teacher who holds her heart away from the children. You are wonderful for keeping his canvas bright.

  8. i really like how the cold snow coursed through his vein, freezing his creativity. thanks for sharing that story toooo… (i don’t like that it happened, i like the metaphor, you understood that, right?)

    http://zongrik.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/events-concatenated/

    • I understand what you meant. I hadn’t really thought about it that way – nice insight into the poem. What’s funny is that I started off trying to write this poem about a completely different incident a year before, but it just wouldn’t be written. Peace, Linda

  9. Yes, even as adults we need encouragement, don’t we? The story of your son’s experience is so sad. You captured it so well with your words. It is SO fortunate that you were there to see it happening or you might never have realized just why your son stopped being interested in art. Thankfully, you were able to help him regain his inspiration and his dream.

    When I was in college I had a teacher for ‘kiddy art’ (a class for future elementary school teachers). The teacher told me she had never seen someone with such a lack of artistic talent as me. Can you imagine? That remark has lived with me to this day. I have since that time, as an adult, taken drawing and painting classes (just because), and I have told each teacher of that woman’s remark. They have told me that they have heard this story often….that there are other people who have been hurt forever by someone’s unkind remark. Even though I have, since college years, created works I have been proud of, there is not ONE time when I sit down to create something that I don’t first have to conquer the insensitive woman’s remark. (One made DECADES ago!) I think, however, it has made me more sensitive to what I will say to others in regard to their creations. We never really know how long a thoughtless remark will live.

  10. oh i’m glad you were there just in the right moment and i’m glad that you could encourage him not to stop painting.. really like what he does from the pic you posted

  11. I am so excited about your son possibly going to the Art Institute and doing something that he is passionate about . . .and good at! :) And your pantoum was so good too!!! Artistry runs in the family! God bless you!

  12. the moon, the blue night =)

  13. nice…i love that you used the pantoum form again….ugh on the teacher and i am glad it did not stop him in the end…there are some that just should not teach…we ran into one of those this year ourselves….such an abuse of power…i am glad he over came…

  14. Simply lovely… creativity is a precious gift… I love the formal circularity too and you landed it perfectly in the final stanza

    • Thank you. I have found that the most important part of a pantoum is the first line, because it is also the last. You have to make sure that one line sums up the whole poem. And it helps when you are writing on a subject you love. :) Peace, Linda

  15. This is beautiful. Your son is blessed to have you as his mother and is very lucky you happened by that classroom when you did. When I was very small I asked a neighbor’s father about the drawing I was making and he became almost enraged by my request. He spoke with such disdain, said oh come on… you know it’s good… It was like a slap and confused me very much. Was it wrong to ask for feedback? Did I know it was good and was bragging? There’s more to the story but it was something that kept me in the closet for a long time, hiding, afraid of sharing my work. I’m so happy to read this. Thank you for sharing.

    • As children we were all so impressionable. It’s sad when kids are discouraged from following their dreams. Imagine what a beautiful world this would be if we were all encouraged as kids to use our talents to make it a better place! Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment of encouragement. Even as adults we need that. :) Peace, Linda

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