Friday, September 29, 2017

Five Minute Friday: DEPEND


Again today I'm joining the Five Minute Friday community, writing for five minutes on a given prompt. This week's word: DEPEND.




The poet William Carlos Williams wrote a famous poem entitled "The Red Wheelbarrow." Here it is:


so much depends
upon


a red wheel
barrow


glazed with rain
water


beside the white
chickens.
 

They say a picture paints a thousand words; well, the sixteen words of this poem paint a vivid picture. It is easy to visualize the wet red wheelbarrow and the white chickens.

But it's the first four words that intrigue me most: "so much depends/upon." 

What, exactly, does that mean? What "depends upon" a red wheelbarrow?

 It's almost as if life itself is hanging in the balance: take away that wheelbarrow and the chickens, and everything falls apart. 

Can he seriously mean that?

I don't know exactly what Williams meant when he was writing this poem, but maybe he was saying that so much depends upon the details. 

So much depends upon noticing the world around us.

So much depends upon taking time to pay attention to the beauty that exists in simple, everyday things.

So much depends upon keeping our eyes open.



14 comments:

  1. Hey Jeannie, we're neighbors today at FMF. Love the essay, the poem, and the pics! Good to visit - I haven't been over in a while!

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    1. Thank you, Susan; really appreciate that you're here today. Have a good weekend.

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  2. Yes...let's keep our eyes wide upon! I'm in the 8 spot this week.

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    1. Thank you, Tara! Great to have you here.

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  3. Interesting poem- I was wondering what he meant too! It is definitely important to notice the detail and be open to what is around us.

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    1. I love poems like this that are (or seem) extremely simple yet raise all kinds of questions in our minds. Thanks for reading and commenting, Lesley!

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  4. I always figured that he was solving the 'what came first, chicken or egg?' conundrum. The wheelbarrow obviously has to come first.

    Of course, he MAY have been referring to the battles between the Red and White armies in the Russian Revolution (the first one, in 1917), and the red wheelbarrow was the allegorical carrying power of the Bolsheviks, whilst the white chickens symbolized the assumed cowardice of the loyalist forces.

    Or maybe he was on his way to KFC, for a good solid lunch.

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    1. That is some solid literary critique right there, Andrew! The KFC interpretation sounds like the most plausible one, to me.

      Thanks for the laugh!

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  5. That poem also tells us that the important things in another person's life might be the think we don't notice at all.

    This is a reminder to me to be open to listening and learning from others, finding out what's important to them both in their physical needs and in their hearts.

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    1. So true, Tim. It is so easy to miss these things because we are full of our own agenda and ideas. So much depends on listening with open ears and hearts.

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  6. I love this poem and totally find my mind going to what's next. Are we going to scoop some poo or give the chickens a ride? I think for now I'll enjoy the colorful contrasts and pay attention to details. Thank you Jeannie. Great stuff!

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    1. I wonder what happens next too, Kelly! I guess it all "depends." But yes, sometimes just stopping to enjoy the colours, without probing too deeply, is the best approach. Thanks for coming by today.

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