Sunday, August 01, 2010

Poem for Sunday and DC Art

Hardware Sparrows
By R.T. Smith

Out for a deadbolt, light bulbs
and two-by-fours, I find a flock
of sparrows safe from hawks

and weather under the roof
of Lowe's amazing discount
store. They skitter from the racks

of stockpiled posts and hoses
to a spill of winter birdseed
on the concrete floor. How

they know to forage here,
I can't guess, but the automatic
door is close enough,

and we've had a week
of storms. They are, after all,
ubiquitous, though poor,

their only song an irritating
noise, and yet they soar
to offer, amid hardware, rope

and handyman brochures,
some relief, as if a flurry
of notes from Mozart swirled

from seed to ceiling, entreating
us to set aside our evening
chores and take grace where

we find it, saying it is possible,
even in this month of flood,
blackout and frustration,

to float once more on sheer
survival and the shadowy
bliss we exist to explore.


I spent a wonderful day with my friend Annmarie, whom I have known for more than a decade but we have never lived as close to each other are we are right now while she is stationed at Fort Lee in Virginia. She has been busy with classes, but on Saturday she came over around lunchtime (Paul made pancakes and eggs) and we went downtown to the Smithsonian's American Art museum to see Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. My family had seen the Rockwell exhibit at the Maryland Science Center in 2006 and visited the Rockwell museum in Stockton, Massachusetts when my in-laws lived in New England more than 10 years ago, but this one has some illustrations I'd never seen before and some works where both an original charcoal sketch and a finished color version are displayed side by side. It's a terrific exhibit, though quite crowded.

We had intended to see the Lego exhibit at the National Building Museum, but none of the articles we'd seen on it mentioned that visitors need timed tickets, and they were sold out for the day when we arrived. So we walked to the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art to see the new Edvard Munch: Master Prints exhibit, which has several examples of a few dozen Munch prints to show how he varied the colors and textures in different prints to alter each image's theme and tone. We walked back to the car through the Sculpture Garden and watched some Arrested Development after dinner (13-bean chili that Paul had left cooking in the crock pot) before Annmarie had to drive back to Fort Lee. Then we watched Video Games Live on PBS, continuing a theme from the Final Fantasy concert on Friday. I must have "In Zanarkand"!

Annmarie and myself at the US Navy Memorial behind the National Archives.

The courtyard between the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum, an enclosed sidewalk. No photos were allowed in the Rockwell exhibit.

"Preamble" is one of the museum's treasures -- Mike Wilkins' depiction of the most recited part of the US Constitution spelled out on state license plates.

The pillars inside the National Building Museum, always a pleasure to see even if we were bummed we couldn't get into the Lego exhibit.

An exhibit of paired hand sculptures occupies the National Gallery of Art East Building's lower level.

No photos were allowed inside the Munch exhibit either -- this is the entrance with an oversized reproduction of "The Lonely One" (sometimes known as "Girl on the Beach"). The most moving, unnerving prints are the series "The Sick Girl" -- portraits of Munch's dying sister.

Louise Bourgeois's Spider in the Sculpture Garden. You can see a squirrel beneath it for size perspective.

This bird did not seem to mind that the metal tree in the Sculpture Garden is not a real tree.

Adam finished his Life in a Day video! It's on YouTube and I am both a guest star and occasional camera operator!

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