Monday, September 12, 2011

utterly candid

The Revenant, 1949, Andrew Wyeth

They say not to wear white
after Labor Day

but he is not afraid to be seen
in the same clothes twice

he knows not to read
too much into everything

without social significance
yesterday's mashed potatoes

are made to be worn year round
for centuries, even

a little room to swing around in
without must and dust and age

a private sort of greatness
a place of morning sun

where there are not quite
so many egg stains

Tess Kincaid
September, 2011

Listen to the inimitable R.A.D. Stainforth's reading of this poem:
(you can visit his excellent blog, Black Dogs, here)


  1. Too bad a lot more people could learn not to read too much into everything.

  2. a private sort of greatness
    yes, I see that in the families of the victims of Sept, 11th's attack on our beloved country

    wearing white after labor day...who really cares anymore life is in the balance

  3. puts it all in perspective doesnt it...

    hugs friend

  4. Perfect image for the wonderful words. I’m sure the medium used for the painting is egg tempera too. AW didn’t follow what others established as the rules.

  5. Suz, I chose Wyeth's "The Revenant" for this week, especially with 9/11 in mind..."revenant" meaning one who has returned from the dead...

  6. Heavy duty and spiritual piece;
    gives one chills, and a small
    smile. Living with ghosts is
    a great pastime, and a sterling
    experience, and we all can only
    yearn for that life between lives,
    in /a place of morning sun/
    and this poem somehow gives
    me a lift on this day that can
    weigh heavily on all of us.

  7. Tess K.: "Suz, I chose Wyeth's 'The Revenant' for this week, especially with 9/11 in mind."
    I mean no disrespect to this date, but I present a more lighthearted view of ghosts in my post.

  8. Berowne, I purposefully did not leave any comments which might sway the Magpie entries on way or another...that's the beauty of individual creativity...

  9. I remember when my mother and grandmother "taught" me about white after Labor Day. I always thought it meant white shoes and socks.
    Ghosts, of course, can wear white all the time. For thousands of years, as you said.
    I would like to think my parents and grandparents are still with me, somehow. I still find myself talking to one or another of them now and then.
    Very interesting prompt for the day, Tess, and I did go with the 9/11 theme.
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  10. Love this one, Tess. I followed the link to Stainforth's but got a post about Seasick Steve.

  11. Beautifully crafted and a pleasure to read. The more I read, the more I wanted to be that person. Love the passion within the words.

  12. Very thought-provoking - thanks for the prompt and your offering!

  13. I love your "light" take on the prompt.

  14. I had to smile at your opening lines as, just this morning, I second-guessed my white flip-flops. :)

  15. Wearing white after Labor Day? Oh how very tacky. Anyone for tennis?

  16. Great take on the prompt. He looks and sounds like a dream...

  17. Very atmospheric. Slightly unsettling, and good. That line about the egg stains really made me shiver.

  18. i havent worn white for many many years. 'cept maybe socks. This is terrific, one of your best.

    ...but of course i'm partial to mashed potatoes

  19. In the same clothes twice!? LOL. Yuk.

    Terrific take.

  20. Martin, I did the same thing, and
    went directly to BLACK DOGS,
    on Tess's FB wall we discover
    the reading is on YouTube,
    part of R.A.D.'s series of
    homage, adoration, and sterling
    interpretation of her incredible
    talent. But just now I found the
    link properly showing up on
    the Manor site, so all's well that
    ends well, enit?

  21. You are welcome to visit Black Dogs) where I have posted Utterly Candid.

    Tess, your poetry inspires me.

  22. Andrew Wyeth is one of my favourite American artists. We came upon a permanent collection of his in Greenville SC , totally by accident...what a fortuitous day! If you ever get the opportunity...go!

  23. Ah yes, I remember no white after Labor Day or before Memorial Day. So glad that people aren't so bound by these traditions any more, that, as your poem said people know 'not to read too much into everythig' anymore. Well done.

  24. Isn't it interesting that I got something a little bit different from reading and listening. I love the little bit more room to swing around in part.

  25. Your prompt and your poem were perfect for today. As always, your poetry is mind-boggling.

    PS: I bopped around Bend all day dressed in white!

  26. How apropos! These people will come back to me visually in my mind for the rest of my life.

    This is one of my favorites of yours yet. And, I must say that the male voice added to it. Not trying to be sexist Tess, but it just seemed to fit.

  27. Grouchy, R.A.D. Stainforth is amazing...he breathes an incredible freshness into my words...I'm glad you like him.

  28. Wore white today & did think about it twice...but it was hot heree.
    Love the haunting painting and words for this day.
    Love the egg reference for egg whites and tempera.

  29. Hadn't seen that Wyeth before -- really nice.

  30. A friend doesn't like the elongation in the torso and arms. I find this interesting because the first thought I had was that this painting of Wyeth rather looks like my friend's body. I am debating whether to share that.

    As for your poem, I am pleased with your voice, my new friend.

    Change Of Attitude

    You talk about ghosts
    in a special tone of voice
    and dance a little
    as you speak your piece.
    If my ghosts took shape like yours
    do I would sing more
    I think and my joints
    would loosen. The arthritis
    would go far away
    and I would strike out
    for the rain forest that once
    covered all our fields.

  31. Gary, I'm probably picked up on my original thoughts...

  32. Christopher, you might like to know that Willow Manor is haunted.

  33. a private sort of greatness - a fine phrase for this day, for this artist.

  34. Only you could make yesterday's mashed potatoes both poetic and ghostly. (Massively enjoying Patina by the way)

  35. Thanks for the link to my little blog, Tess ... I may haunt Willow Manor forever ... you don't mind English ghosts do you ...

  36. Great piece Tess, the edge of humor sharpens the haunting essence -

  37. Nice to be reading you again Tess - great painting prompt and poem - thanks, Isabel

  38. Good humor, I like "private sort of greatness"! thanks.

  39. Such a lot to like in this. The line:
    without must and dust and age, for starters.
    I really liked this piece.

  40. Dear Tess: Angels do not have to fear to tread such impossible edicts! I love a man who knows his own mind and has such distinctive style! "mashed potatoes"! A well-played poem!

  41. a little surreal but yes i think there is much to gleen from this..

  42. Rules are made to be broken - or at least they ask for that.

  43. Egg stains aside, there are so many ghosts in this painting, all residing in the creative/destructive natures we draw upon daily. I suppose that one "private sort of greatness" would be being seen in the same clothes always: Truly fearless!

    Love this poem. So many paths among the word.

  44. A guy after my own heart..sort of sets his own style, always know him when he returns!!

  45. This is a great piece - so many directions to go in

  46. yesterday's mashed potatoes...oh yes...midwest potatoes...a must..bkm

  47. Must always be on the lookout for those egg stains... lingering beyond yesterday's taters. smiles.

    Excellent write.

  48. Mashed potatoes ...I can never figure how you manage to juggle your elements and have them fall into these intriguing little poems :-)

  49. Tess, you did it! You gave me a prompt that helped me write poetry on the day after 9/11 which was the hardest day for me. Thanks for this great poem, and for the great prompt.

  50. I like white everyday. If it were possible, and without egg stains at all.

  51. I love this Tess! Your line about yesterday's mashed potatoes made me smile! I also loved "a quiet sort of greatness." So few people have that these days.

  52. Gleaming white and ghostly white. It is pretty interesting. Who bothers about convention these days, anyway!


  53. I prefer potato to egg stains too!

  54. Tess . . who else but you could incorporate egg stains and mashed potato into a credible poem?

  55. Strong take on this powerful image, Tess.

  56. We are a society that over alalyzes everything! Love the simple truth in your words Tess!

  57. "a private sort of greatness" wonderful tribute to 9/11; alas, I'm guilty of reading too much into everything. Excellent points, and excellent poem!

  58. Very thought provoking piece of writing... Love it Tess..

  59. I do know it is your blog, Tess.


    What charming poetry you have posted here.

    Invite you to share 1 to 3 poems with us, anything could fit the theme of object,

    Hope to see you in.

    Happy Writing..

  60. Your work is Brilliant.
    Just breathtaking.
    I think I have been by before or seen this on Google +/ Im not sure.
    Came by way of one of your friends.

  61. Thank you, gentle readers, for your very generous comments. I know I always say this, but you are the best. You really are.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)