WALKING THE LINE

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Submitted Date 05/25/2019
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Walking The Line
OR:
Drawing Calligraphy in the Sand

Age 22, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, 1967
-- This is one poem, in an autobiographical series of poems, I posted here at WriteSpike. Go to my stories section for others. They are in chronological order. --

My calligraphy was based on the late works of the painter, Paul Klee.
The drawing (above) for this poem is one of my pen drawings made at this time.

A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.
~ Paul Klee ~

I had learned not to care
about what others thought
-- not even what I thought myself --
when the pen in my hand meandered
across pieces of paper
drawing line after line

within months
a kind of alphabet
or hieroglyphics
evolved --
yet it was more drawing than writing
and interlocking,
each 'letter' part of the next

Painting by Paul Klee
This painting is by Paul Klee.

by that time
the characters had become automatic
like speaking in tongues
like a language that my heart knew
but my brain could not decipher

buying reams of blank paper
I often stopped after only a stroke or two
while other sheets were more complex
"What do these mean?"
a friend asked
"I don't know," I said

then on a weekend
at the beach
the shore empty late at night,
I drew in the canvas of the sand

like a calligraphy brush
that could draw thick or thin
I straightened my fingers
to plow wide grooves
and then turned my palm sideways
to carve sharp and narrow -
after minutes I used my feet as well

the work went
for ten yards
etched around seashells
outlining driftwood
and across the side of a dune

when the tide came in
it erased most of my script
but left an edge
above the high water mark

later on Sunday
a breeze blew
and my writing merged with
the wind ripples in the sand

 

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