“Civilization is social order
supporting cultural creativity.”
*The following picture elicited the poem
“A Letter to My Art Teacher.”
This is a poem I wrote to Mr. Webb, my Hurricane Jr. High eighth-grade Art teacher (because he said he was going to lower the grade on our Christmas-scene assignment if he saw erasures!)
I always got an “A” on my art work. But was very worried I would end up with a “B” on the picture you see below because I had to erase a number of times in an effort to correct the airplane wings. I didn’t succeed, as you can see! But the strong emotion involved in the whole project elicited the following poem: “A Letter to My Art Teacher:
Dear Mr. Webb:
If you’ll take mercy on my age,
You’ll excuse the mistakes on this page;
But look at it and like it not,
The blood in my veins will be running hot!
I thought and I drew to get an “A,”
And I expected it to be that way.
The smudges and the creases that you see
Were made because I didn’t want a “B.”
Don’t see the badness; the goodness instead.
I drew it all with a pencil lead.
The idea didn’t come from brain,
But I drew it’s all just the same.
Isn’t it wonderful? I think it is.
The dolly was made for sister Liz;
The drum was made in honor of Ted —
He does so admire purple and red.
The rest was made because the idea was that way;
I think it’s the very image of a Christmas Day.
I know, myself, the airplane is queer,
But to leave it out would ruin the design so dear.
Of course, if you don’t give me an “A,”
It only means you didn’t see it that way.
But I spent a very long time on it.
For hours it seems that I did sit,
Trying to make the whole scene perfect.
If you knew how hard it was to do,
You’d take mercy on my age —
My inexperience too;
You’d think of it my way,
And in your grade book
You’d mark another “A.”
Note: It seems my lyrical letter worked:
Mr. Webb gave me an “A.”
Then wrote a little poem of his own to say:
“You’ve been an outstanding student every day;
Your pictures are good and well worth an ‘A’.”
(That made my day!)
(The following is the original poem, written on the back of the above picture. Following this handwritten lyrical letter are some of the pictures I did in art classes, from ages twelve through fourteen.)