January 5, 2008

A Toad for Popsy

2008 is off to a literary start. I am working on three book projects, one practical, one documentary and the last one poetic. Each of these books has its own rewards and challenges. The book of poetry, "Monologues - One Hundred Poems for One Hundred Paintings," is off to a good start with most of the one hundred paintings selected and twenty-six poems completed.

An interesting challenge presented itself in writing poetry that I did not expect. I was expecting not to be able to find enough words for poetry. As soon as I started writing, however, my mind was inundated by words. A veritable floodgate of verbiage burst into consciousness. Trouble is, the words were not exactly of the most profound kind. This is probably a hereditary aberration. I had a Welsh grandfather who was known for his ability to spontaneously compose limericks and other short pieces of word play. Much to the chagrin of his family, he came up with these amusing ditties for every occassion - appropriate or not, like on the occassion of his daughter (my aunt) running over a cat in the driveway. I guess he wasn't always the most sensitive of souls.

So as I am composing my sensitive poetry for paintings, the genes of the Welsh grandfather (who I didn't even know which is why I conclude that word play must have a genetic component) kick in and a veritable deluge of irreverent limericks also spring into being like poetic byproduct. Rather than ignore them or try to suppress them, however, I'm collecting them. Who knows? Byproducts can be useful too. I've included the following sample. Somewhere there is a Welsh Davies laughing over this:

I found a toad beneath a rock

So I stuffed him into my wool sock

Then walked with him for half a block

And jumped with him from off a dock

I swam with him across a loch

Away to my friend's house, Nam Il Paik

Where toady got a knick and a knock

And stir-fried in a big black wok

Heaven help me! After making thousands of paintings, writing a few scholarly articles, founding a national arts organization, and perhaps finishing a book or two this just might be my legacy. "Janet Kozachek," people will say, "Hey, wasn't she the one who wrote that toad song?" Popsy would be proud and would probably have liked my purple and green pencil drawing of a toad as well.

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