The Greatest Poem

station new

The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem.

Walt Whitman, 1855 Preface to Leaves of Grass

Good morning, Beautiful People. Aren’t Saturdays luxurious when one is allowed to sleep in, recharge the weary batteries weakened by the week, make coffee and enjoy the silence and space? I wanted to take this moment and post a watercolor I finally completed, a small one (9 x 12″ unframed) of a restored 1921 Shell station in New Cambria, Missouri.  A dear friend from high school had alerted me to its existence, and with difficulty I was able to gain access and take a number of reference photos.  The image has been emblazoned in my mind’s eye for about a month, and I’m glad finally to bring this small composition to its conclusion.

I have posted Whitman’s quote because for months I’ve been hearing a myriad of unnecessary, unpleasant remarks being tossed about on the air waves and social media as this current election runs its bloody course. I love Whitman’s assessment of this country and its beauty in that a number of disparate peoples have been knitted together in a pattern of cities, counties and states to create a United States. I am stirred by that metaphor.

But I am more deeply stirred when I encounter that word “poem” derived from the Greek poiēma and better translated “work of art.” The letter to the Ephesians in 2:10 states “for we are his workmanship” (King James Version), the translation of poiēma. Some translations prefer “handiwork.” I like the idea of you being a poem, a work of art, something splendid that has been created and given as a Gift to this world.

So, whatever happens to you on this day, I urge you to pause and reflect on the magnificent poem that is you.  Unique.  There is no one else like you in this culture, and you are placed here where you can color and enrich those who surround you.  Above all, be a Gift to yourself.  Love yourself.  Take great joy in that you are what you are.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to encounter.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.


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16 Responses to “The Greatest Poem”

  1. Margaret Parker Brown Says:

    Beautiful post and I love your comments about the word poem and the translation and especially referring to Ephesians and we being His workmanship or handiwork….thank you for that reminder! you have a blessed day, you sure have blessed mine 🙂


  2. Michael Richards (certainline) Says:

    Even by your high standards a beautiful post and painting. Saturdays are a joy, I agree: sometimes I wake and think I need to get up and start the daily routine, only to realise…it’s the weekend!


  3. Eric Gitonga Says:

    I needed to read this today. At times the process of being shaped into God’s handiwork is not the most pleasant. But knowing that the final outcome is something stellar, it makes it bearable. Today was one of those days that just went wrong! Reading this as my day draws to a close (11.32pm where I am as I type this) gives me much needed encouragement! Thank you!


    • davidtripp Says:

      Eric, I apologize that it took so long for me to find this. I’m sorry your day soured (I myself have had too many of those days recently). I truly wish you the best as you find yourself. Don’t lose hope – you have so much to offer and so much to gain.


  4. Karen Muzzy Says:

    Today is my birthday, and reading this post felt like a gift. Thank you, David.


  5. Xraypics Says:

    I started reading your post with slight cynicism due precisely to that which you refer – highly unpleasant reporting of the current US election process. By the end I was thanking you so much for your thoughts, the little wake-up call; just the sort of encouragement I needed today. Thankyou for that!


    • davidtripp Says:

      Tony, it’s gotten quite bloody over here, and I have to cover my ears to shut out the clatter. But art still has truth and I seek refuge there (Matthew Arnold?). Thank you for reaching out.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wayne Whitr Says:

    Magnificent work once again. You do a great job of sharing your love for art. Spread the love my friend. The world will be a better place for it!


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