A Calling, By Maxine Kuman
Over my desk Georgia O’Keeffe says
I have no theories to offer and then
takes refuge in the disembodied
third person singular: One works
I suppose because it is the most
interesting thing one knows to do.
O Georgia! Sashaying between
first base and shortstop as it were
drawing up a list of all the things
one imagines one has to do. . . .
You get the garden planted. You
take the dog to the vet. You
certainly have to do the shopping.
Syntax, like sex, is intimate.
One doesn’t lightly leap from person
to person. The painting, you said,
is like a thread that runs
through all the reasons for all the other
things that make one’s life.
O awkward invisible third person,
come out, stand up, be heard!
Poetry is like farming. It’s
a calling, it needs constancy,
the deep woods drumming of the grouse,
and long life, like Georgia’s, who
is talking to you.
From “An Anthology of Great U.S. Women Poets 1850-1990: Temples and Palaces,” edited by Glenn Richard Ruihley (The Mosaic Foundation: 586 pp., $50)