On July 4, 2010, poet Mary Oliver found a whale bone on the beach and wrote a poem about it.
She forged just the right poem for this summer day…
as always giving it a bigger view…(as do these fireworks envisioned by artists.)
Bone July 4, 2010
Understand, I am always trying to figure out
What the soul is,
And where hidden,
And what shape-
And so, last week,
When I found on the beach
The ear bone
Of a pilot whale that may have died
Hundreds of years ago, I thought
Maybe I was close
To discovering something-
For the ear bone
Is the portion that lasts longest
In any of us, man or whale…
And I thought: the soul
Might be like this-
So hard, so necessary-
Yet almost nothing
The gray sea
Was opening and shutting its wave-doors..
I looked but couldn’t see anything
Through its dark-knit glare;
Yet don’t we all know, the golden sand
Is there at the bottom,
Though our eyes have never seen it,
Nor can our hands ever catch it.
Lest we would sift it down
Into fractions, and facts-
And what the soul is, also
I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
Truly I know
Our part is not knowing,
But looking, and touching, and loving,
Which is the way I walked on,
Through the pale-pink morning light.
Wishing you a joyous Fourth!
Top: Cai Guo-Qiang, One Night Stand: Explosion Event (2013)
Middle: Giacomo Balla, Fireworks (1915) Italian Futurist Giacomo Balla conceived of his fireworks as a performance—he constructed a set made of solid geometric wood forms covered in fabric and colored paper. Inside these pyramid and prism forms, he placed electric lights, which operated rhythmically and creating unexpected movement and other effects. Set to the music of Igor Stravinsky, his goal was to evoke “the moods of fireworks,” rather than create a replica.
Bottom: Helen Frankenthaler, Grey Fireworks (2000)