Saturday, September 22, 2007

Road Signs

On my way home from Vermont last Monday, I drove along a number of rural roads and through several small towns. Because I didn't have to deal with the usual nightmare traffic, I was able to enjoy the beautiful scenery and some interesting things along the side of the road that I normally wouldn't even notice when I'm on high alert trying to make sure no one runs me off the road. Three such sights have stayed in my head.

The first was a sign outside a small white church: "If you knew that you would never fail, what would you try?" Hm, I wondered. Nothing? or Everything? Maybe it's a trick question. During the week I applied the question to poetry: If I knew that I would never write a bad poem, would I keep on writing? Again, I'm not sure of the answer. Certainly, some of the fun would be lost, the lovely fear that comes from not knowing how the poem is going to work out or if it's going to work out. And the excitement of rescuing a poem that was floundering. I think I'd miss carrying the poem around in my head all day, staying alert for the right word, the right image. If all those good poems came out good on the first try, I know I'd miss the challenge of revision. And if I didn't write any losers, how would I recognize the keepers? So maybe I've figured out my answer after all.

The second sight that has lingered was in a small Vermont town which must have a tradition of putting out scarecrows along the main road or is perhaps engaged in some kind of scarecrow art project. In either case, it was just delightful to see all kinds of fanciful scarecrows sporadically lining the street.

A deer as a scarecrow. The hunted now the hunter.

A wedding party

These aren't really the scarecrows I saw. I didn't have time to stop and take photos. The ones I've added here are available on the internet. But they will give you a sense of what I saw. My favorite scarecrow was a babe all decked out in sequins and sporting a beret. The Town Poet.

The third memorable sight was a small truck belonging to Woofi the Missionary Pup. Imagine being passed by this:


Apparently Woofi travels all over doing his good work. Where is the dog to protect me? Hm. Woofi even has his own website: Woofi the Missionary Pup. No wonder I made it home in one piece.

2 comments :

  1. "If I knew that I would never write a bad poem, would I keep on writing? Again, I'm not sure of the answer. Certainly, some of the fun would be lost, the lovely fear that comes from not knowing how the poem is going to work out or if it's going to work out."

    Interesting question. It's the push always to be writing the poem you aren't quite good enough to write that keeps you writing, isn't it? I'll keep this in mind next time I get frustrated and threaten to quit. So far, that's always turned out to be an empty threat.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Sherry--
    Yes, part of the joy is the challenge, the frustration even of pushing beyond what we have already done, of discovering what we didn't know we were looking for. I'm adding you to my blogroll.

    ReplyDelete

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