We’ve been loving Jane Hirshfield’s wonderful poem I Wanted to Be Surprised from her new collection Ledger. It is the lens through which we’ve been looking to discover uplifting…surprises… like this sublime painting by Philip Sutton of a fruit tree in his garden with its blossoms in full bloom*.
(Listen to Hirshfield read the poem here)
I Wanted to Be Surprised
To such a request, the world is obliging.
In just the past week, a rotund porcupine,
who seemed equally startled by me.
The man who swallowed a tiny microphone
to record the sounds of his body,
not considering beforehand how he might remove it.
A cabbage and mustard sandwich on marbled bread.
How easily the large spiders were caught with a clear plastic cup
surprised even them.
I don’t know why I was surprised every time love started or ended.
Or why each time a new fossil, Earth-like planet, or war.
Or that no one kept being there when the doorknob had clearly.
What should not have been so surprising:
my error after error, recognized when appearing on the faces of others.
What did not surprise enough:
my daily expectation that anything would continue,
and then that so much did continue, when so much did not.
Small rivulets still flowing downhill when it wasn’t raining.
A sister’s birthday.
Also, the stubborn, courteous persistence.
That even today please means please,
good morning is still understood as good morning,
and that when I wake up,
the window’s distant mountain remains a mountain,
the borrowed city around me is still a city, and standing.
Its alleys and markets, offices of dentists,
drug store, liquor store, Chevron.
Its library that charges—a happy surprise—no fine for overdue books:
Borges, Baldwin, Szymborska, Morrison, Cavafy.
this beautiful tiny instagram film of Louise Bourgeois talking about drawing, from Hauser +Wirth
Drawings are thought feathers, they are ideas that I seize in mid-flight and put down on paper.
View this post on Instagram
the fallen Pennsylvania log that local wildlife use to cross a stream. We love seeing black bears, bobcats, deer, squirrels and beavers scurrying across as they go about their lives…
Shaun the Sheep: Adventures From Mossy Bottom on Netflix, a stop-motion series from the “Wallace and Gromit” universe. It is wildly creative, charming, silly, fun, completely entertaining. Each 13-minute episode provides instant relief and joy. When we’re feeling flattened by the news, we watch one.
*And here’s Philip Sutton talking about his amazing tree, at top, from the Tate Modern’s ever-illuminating instagram:
’For me colour is all about invention, having the freedom to choose from a kaleidoscope of options rather than matching reality. I feel like a wild musician running through an orchestra, playing any instrument I wish.’
I Wanted to Be Surprised
To such a request, the world is obliging