I shared this via email two years ago when Mom died but someone reminded me of it this past weekend and so I thought I’d share it again. It gave me a change to re-read. I’ll keep it in mind as I think about my own drawing, which should be with this same spirit of joyful abandon.
INSTRUCTIONS TO THE ARTIST ON MY 77TH
Don your velvet beret and
Approach the easel.
Mix any two primary colors, except red.
Or with your Froggey Green Crayola*
Draw a square and put
A large triangle on top.
And with your black Crayola*
Draw heavy enclosing lines
Around the combined parts
To keep it firmly in its spot,
Undisturbed by coastal storms or hurricanes.
It should be a geometric house
One that sits on the page
In all its transparency. .
One that Phillip Johnson would like.
Omit the chimney and its smoke
Fireplaces and cooking are not my style.
Hide the front entrance door,
But place a large friendly dog where
Others would expect to enter.
Plant orange trees around the back door
So that the sea breezes
Push their fragrance into our noses.
If there are window boxes,
In front of the four-on-four panes
Please fill them with sweet peas.
White with lavender throats. .
No tie backs . I prefer an uninterrupted view
Of the entire landscape as I sit inside.
The horizon line should be a gentle arc,
That makes our house sit high above the world.
And V shaped birds, yes, large ones,
Flying in formation to
Mirror the V’s of the distant waves.
Ships with colored sails, being pushed
Speedily down the Susquehanna.
And maybe, you could paint me
Frantically waving from the roof top
With a large balloon cloud above my head
That holds your signature, —
(First name printed would be fine) —–
So that I will always
Be calling to your from my
Little Green house.