How Hard

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

 
We talked about children,
their schooling,
their boyfriends.
How they are becoming
serious about their relationships.

We talked about children
becoming people.
How hard it is.

We talked about
how hard creating
a new piece of art is.

How much energy
the making of art takes —
an extraordinary piece of art.

How hard that is:
Like the yellow orchid
in the forest this morning
among the blue waters.
How hard the earth struggled
to bring about that flower:

Like my ancestors
that were sailors,
sailing to other lands —
among the blue waters —

how hard.

5 Comments

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry

5 responses to “How Hard

  1. I love how your ending takes flight Ethel – and then those final two words.

  2. Your words remind me of a world/globe spinning in time always changing and with every change it gets harder.

  3. What I find interesting in this poem is its experimental nature. Ethel is using form here in an attempt to create a cohesive whole that, at least on the surface, is made up of disparate elements.
    The poem starts out recounting a conversation that is obviously between an older person and younger person:
    We talked about children,
    their schooling,
    their boyfriends.
    How they are becoming
    serious about their relationships.

    We talked about children
    becoming people.
    Then she has the first of the unifying elements repeated throughout the poem: “How hard it is.” In this case, how hard it is for children to become people.
    The conversation then continues:
    We talked about
    how hard creating
    a new piece of art is.

    How much energy
    the making of art takes —
    an extraordinary piece of art.
    Clearly we have two artists talking here, one older and one younger. The conversation about the typical topics of concern to young adults has moved on to a conversation about art.
    “How hard that is,” the poet says.
    Then the jump, from conversation to reflection, from people and the making of art to a yellow orchid found in the woods:
    Like the yellow orchid
    in the forest this morning
    among the blue waters.
    How hard the earth struggled
    to bring about that flower:
    The element of hardness is found not only in human endeavors, the struggle to peoplehood and the creation of art, but also in the natural world, the long evolution that leads to the creation of a yellow orchid in the wood among blue waters. In this case the blue waters line will be repeated later in the poem as another linking element.
    Then the poem jumps again, from a reflection about nature back to a discussion about humanity and human relations over time not bound by time:
    Like my ancestors
    that were sailors,
    sailing to other lands —
    among the blue waters —
    The yellow orchid is is related to ancestor that were sailors because both had lives “among the blue waters.” This reflects back to the original conversation too about children, schooling, boyfriends, and relationships, but now the relationship is from one generation to another within the context of evolution, the existence of beauty, and the earth.
    The poem then ends: “How hard,” reflecting backward to all of the things that were hard in the poem: growing into people, extraordinary creative art, the creation by evolution and the earth of a yellow orchid, and the ancestor sailors of the poet while, at the same time, commenting on the hardness of the ancestors who sailed to other lands among blue waters, the waters connecting them and the orchid and the difficulty of creation and evolution.

  4. How hard it is to create yes
    Yet how easy to spoil or destroy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s