risk disk no baa no humbug Betty White

2022 0117 risk disk

Though it is undated, and may be reworked at a later time, this drawing is essentially done as of today, January 17, 2022. Today is Betty White’s 100th birthday. Betty is no longer with us but her legacy of empowerment for women–she led by superb example–and reverence for animals is alive and well.

Two days ago I briefly served as a Docent for the Glendale Arts Council, spending the afternoon at Sahuaro Ranch Park welcoming visitors into the Fruit Packing Building, where the Council’s 58th annual Juried Fine Arts Show was in progress. After I had done my duty I took a long hike to my friend Martin Klass’s house. Before I had gone a mile I was walking past a mini-flock of sheep, and I stopped to take pictures, and some of them left the flock and came up to the fence, thus:

2022 0115 sheeps

I was subsequently compelled to write this about our encounter:

no baa, no humbug

out the gates of sahuaro ranch park
and east on mountain view
west of fifty-first ave
reside livestock
including sheep
who were clumpingly champing on grass
bout fiddyfeet from the chainlink

and were so bored
that a pedestrian with a phone cam
was a welcome distraction

and three nay four
came up to the fence
to say hello
and mouth-grab dry leaf from the links

they were mellow
and i hope not disappointed
that i gave them only

Two days later, rereading the poem, it seems to me that it sounds eerily similar to the “voice” of William Carlos Williams in his famous poem “This Is Just To Say.” I gratefully acknowledge his influence.

As for my own poetic voice, in the form of the acrostic poem in the image above, here it is, transcribed:

risk disk

ruminate in fleece array’d
indolence: it’s toujours gai
sacrificial-lamming desks
keep it pesky–add some pesk

And the image, which was sketched and calligraphed on a card approximately 3″ by 5″, is a rather muddled blend of at least three faces. the central face is that of the ewe in the photo, the one on the right. It is flanked by a couple, one of whom has one hand on top of the other’s, though that is nearly impossible to see, what with the superimposition of ewe-face and poem. There MAY be a duck’s profile helping the ewe’s right ear do double-duty, and there MAY be a grinning clam doing the same with the left ear. (In this surreal Image-Universe, clams are every bit as sentient as were the oysters in Lewis Carroll’s famous poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter.”)

I say MAY be, because this image is preliminary to a much larger drawing on the same type of paper, but with 32 times more square footage. (Inchage? [smiles]) I hope to spend at least a week on the larger, more elaborated, less murky drawing. It is inevitable that I will find new things to say and draw to honor Betty White and her love for all creatures, which is ancillary but vital to this image. (Notice how the sheep is saying “Happy Heavenly Birthday, Betty White!) I love the idea of having some small part in continuing the divine Ms. White’s earthly mission. And so, inspired by the example of mypoet and professional-organizer friend Michelle Frost, today I made a modest donation to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Friends, I urge you to make some donation to some animal-advoicacy group today.

2022 0117 aspca donation


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