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Saturday 9 March 2013

two record-breaking abstracts.

Two cyclists -- I forget their names --
had ridden through a stormy night,
the last leg of a twenty four hour run
which broke the tandem record for that time.

Next day at school we heard how Mr Jones,
art master extraordinary,
had also braved the storm all night,
one of the hundred helpers, feeders, marshalls,
to see his two friends through.
He told the tale enthrallingly:
no details missed, no dramatic moments
overlooked -- but then the task we dreaded:
to paint the scene as we imagined it.

My friend and I, easel facing easel
across the classroom floor
(no chance to see each other's work),
produced two look-alike results.
Both backgrounds wholly indigo to black
relieved by one small, yellow disc.
Asked to comment, our comments were alike:
His headlight, sir, is all that's to be seen.

Next day the paintings hung along the wall,
beneath them the results: how they had done.
Mine was the best. My friend's was next.
How was that possible? They were alike --
and others in the group were worthier.
We'd just been out to have a laugh.
(You can't make art from bicycles, we thought!)
Had Mr Jones with subtle point got some-
thing over us? The other pupils seemed
amused, not irritated by the marks.

From that time on, my friend and I
were known as having certain gifts
of telepathic origin.


Manicddaily said...

First - there is a wonderful symmetry to this from the start -- the two tandem cyclists==also doing something rather arbitrary - yet involving so many people and so lauded and risky--then moving to you two boys--boys will be boys!--and your mutual sort of tongue-in-cheek (perhaps) take on the scene.

And though the paintings were abstract,there is something wonderfully direct about the idea - that this is what could be seen, and to some degree they were also more risk-taking. All so clever and just interesting to read - the end very funny - the way people get names for themselves. You tell the story so succinctly but super well. k.

Mary said...

What a story, Dave. Fascinating that you and your friend both thought of the headlight....but I think this shows the abstract / the artist in both you and friend. I think the art teacher understood this too, which is why yours and your friend's were the best. You had a different vision of the scene than the rest! It seems the other students in the class understood this as well, once they saw the paintings.

Brian Miller said...

how very cool that you both came up with the same picture...it is neat as well the correlation between the two cyclist and the two artists dave....

Rachna Chhabria said...

"My friend and I, easel facing easel
across the classroom floor
(no chance to see each other's work),
produced two look-alike results."

It reminded me of something that happened in my school and it got the two girls into trouble.

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Cloudia said...

Another piece of the puzzle that is Dave!

Oh! That first 4 lines are a sculpture!

Claudia said...

haha..so cool...first that you two had the same idea and how you tackled this...just a yellow dot in the night...i think this was pretty smart..smiles

Elephant's Child said...

'(You can't make art from bicycles, we thought!)'
And now you have made art from bicycles twice - then and now. Mr Jones wins.

kaykuala said...

Interestingly enough art in all its glory! No same thing from the common occurrence. More so when abstracts are involved. Headlights can be depicted in every which way! Nicely Dave!


Tommaso Gervasutti said...

I enjoyed the "building Georgian" of your previous post, very lyric, and the Dylan Thomas's atmosphere of this latest one, for some reason it reminds me of Dylan Thomas's episodes in some short stories of his which I enjoyed even more than his poems.

Dave King said...

Yes, the take was tongue-in-cheek. I have to say I am a little overwhelmed by your so appreciative comments. I had not expected so much. My heartfelt thanks then.

Yes, that is what has always struck me about the incident: the correspondence between our paintings- and to some extent our explanations.

Very many thanks. I am so gobsmacked by the response to what I had thought a rather mediocre post.


Msybe it's the piece I thought I'd lost!

Thanks so much.

The Elephant's Child.
Jones always won, if I remember right - except where the head was concerned. Much thanks.

Thanks for this. Really appreciate your thoughts.

Thank you so much for your comments. Yes, Thomas's short stories... now, it's a long while since I read them. I must add them to my "to re-read" list. (Started recently, seemed like a good idea.)

Ygraine said...

I'm certain that the two of you were telepathic...that you both should have chosen to paint the headlights!
And I really like the correlation between the cyclists and artists...makes the whole poem feel more like a perfect sculpture...sort of symmetrical!