I was reading Shantyboat last night on board my own boat.
I often need to see water.
I was rocking,
Rising, and falling from the busied holiday weekend lake traffic.
You were off the boat
Being commissioned to paint,
Glad to be thought of as a painter who fished –
Not a fisherman who painted.
The Trimble County preacher who had to seek you out
To contract the painting to be hung on the wall behind his pulpit
Never dreamed your watercolor river
Was pre-drawn from floating the river Brent to the Bedford Bridge.
You would accept money only for the needed supplies,
Reasoning that painting the scene sans pay
Would bring you more pleasure
And the freedom to please no others.
Others were pleased, however.
The members met at a house that could be reached by car,
A farm house you could reach easily enough by walking
Along a winding river-leaving path.
The country dinner was served in your honor.
You were surprised that art
Pleasing to you
Also pleased strangers.
I was enjoying your journals last night
When I realized why your writing has been compared to Thoreau’s.
Creativity in your writing and your art
Came from pleasing yourself.