Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Night Radio

I was listening to Studio 360 this morning while at the studio. I actually got off the internet, out of the house and to the studio by 10 am. Hard to imagine on a Saturday.  I heard this poem on the program, by Japanese poet Shuntaro Tanikawa, called A Night Radio:

I am holding a soldering iron
tinkering with a '49 Philco
Despite warm tubes, the radio is stubbornly silent
but its odor still fresh, mesmerizes me
Why do ears wish to hear beyond their capacity?
I think we hear much too much nowadays
and I feel nostalgic over this broken radio's silence
I can't say which is the more important to me,
tinkering with the radio or writing a poem
I long for the days when I'd nothing to do with poems
and walk those dusty childhood roads
But I've forgotten about women and friends 
as though time did not exist
I just wanted to hear, should have heard something more
My breath held, my ear cocked in every summer's towering clouds
In the muttering of family get-togethers in an untidy room
Refusing to compress living into a story

This is how I feel, often enough when I am working on a painting -particularly a stubborn painting. I long for the days when I'd nothing to do with paintings and walk those dusty childhood roads. It was comforting to hear someone with as much achievement as Tanikawa express this feeling. And to bring back that childhood feeling -a warm evening, focused intensely on some activity, some doing and all time is lost. Nothing exists but the warm, now cooling, envelope of air, a dimming light, your hands and mind. The intensity of love of life in that moment.

This painting has been kicking my butt for too long

1 comment:

  1. How funny to see this post. Tatiana from my office told me about it. Shuntaro Tanikawa is my father. I work for the NYC Soil & Water Conservation District. Native plants, ecological restoration, stormwater management, and urban soils are all our program focus areas. Never in a million years did I imagine I'd come across my father's poem this way! Stars must be aligning for something!


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