Saturday, April 03, 2010

one single impression: cognizance

A painting
With its many layers
Brush strokes
Hidden from view
But no less a part
Of the finished work.
Those hidden ridges
And grooves below the surface
Give it texture
Give it dimension
Give it depth
Give it character
They cannot be known
In the usual sense
Cannot be analyzed
By cruel cognizance
That would peel away
The layers above.
They need not be seen
To be known
To be understood
To be appreciated
For their part in the creation.
It is enough to know
That they are there.

About this piece: I've been thinking a lot lately about the difference between what we see and what we know. We see the surface, the outward presentation, the finished product. We see the beauty that's visible -- literally and figuratively. And if we look closely, carefully, we can see the impressions of the things that are below the surface. But we can never actually see these things without peeling back the top layer. And in doing that, we run the risk of damaging or even destroying the beauty that drew our eye in the first place. We can't see the actual brush stroke underneath or the undersketch that was the foundation for the painting. We don't have to see these to know they're there or to appreciate their role in bringing the wonder of the finished work to us. But awareness of their existence enhances what we know, and love about the present version.

About the photo: Every year the agency I work for solicits contributions from all over the state to provide the artwork that hangs in our building. The new "show" was just mounted last week, and this painting of a Loggerhead Turtle hangs right across the hall from the stairwell entrance I use every day. Since I have a very good friend who's crazy for turtles -- especially sea turtles -- I wanted a photo of it. Which is what ultimately brought me around to this poem.

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Daryl said...

WHOA awesome and such a contrast to the monochromes... and the poem, perfect. Your explanation is equally eloquent ... I hope that you continue to look below the surface

Fireblossom said...

^^^ oo look, my favorite fashionista!

I love this entire post. Of course, all that you have said applies to those works of art with legs we call ourselves, too.

The further I have managed to get, away from my beginnings, the less miserable/more happy I get. I sometimes think, wow, what was all THAT about, anyway, as i search for the cosmic reason. But then I always realize, I would not be who I am without all that went before.

Aayushi Mehta said...

Enjoyed it all, the poem, the photo, the note... And really nice to see a photo in color for a change! Beautiful shot!

Anonymous said...

Life inside Life, in a poem.

This speaks to me with so much clarity- in fact, this one's going on the fridge.

Carlos Gesmundo said...

Really enjoyed the entire post. Just right for this time of year.

Thanks for sharing! Good wishes.

Rinkly Rimes said...

Rather like looking at the ocean and knowing, without seeing, the teeming life underneath. A lovely idea beautifully written.

Greyscale Territory said...

A beautiful exploratio n of the concept that full cognizance is not necessarily a good thing! Sometimes the beauty of the unknown is the beauty!

SandyCarlson said...

Cruel cognizance. These words struck a chord one because the word cognizance got stuck in my nose this week and wouldn't come out as anything poetic and two because the bright lights under which dissections take place are not very kind.

I bow to the light within you. Namaste.

Amity said...

You said it perfectly...without deeper cognizance we may not be able to appreciate the making of a masterpiece and how it has become one!

Sandra (if) said...

your words are so true ...the important things and the steps followed to create something are often unseen and a mistery...

Robin said...

Absolutely! We can't know and understand everything, and trying too hard simply takes some of the beauty away. I agree that it's often better just "to know that they're there"!

Pearl said...

love how it reads as rows or as columns. nicely done.

Pearl said...

love how it reads as rows or as columns. nicely done.

Tammie Lee said...

not only is your poem wonderful, but the idea is grand. there are so many layers in each bit of life....

gabrielle said...

no need to disturb the pattern of the turtle’s shell to know the softness that lays beneath. what an affirmation of trust.

this poem meant so much. thank you.

Loch Rob said...

Excellent piece. I really like the imagery of the details in creating a painting. I agree with your perspective.

Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim said...

Our intuition tells us vaguely about some things we cannot see.
Sometimes we only know what we see. 3-D we can readily understand but how about 4-D, we can not see that? One of my fun graduate projects was to develop a program to solve equations showing infinity dimensions.

Tumblewords: said...

Perfect - why we continue to see the obvious and miss so much is rather amazing.

Anonymous said...

I love this entire post, very thought provoking, and beautiful photo.

Marinela Reka said...

Enjoyed very much, the poem and the photo :)

Marinela x

totomai said...

most of painting details are invisible but they do play an important on the final product :-)