I built on the sandAnd it tumbled down,I built on a rockAnd it tumbled down.Now when I build, I shall beginWith the smoke from the chimney.
We gather insight and take our inspiration as we go. I’m no different. A lovely poem like this one crosses my path, written by a man who died the year after I was born. I make no notes, jot down no reminders to investigate further. Quite possibly I will remember: his name; that he was Polish; his modernist connection. But I won’t be able to tell you what a modernist is, or a Pole for that matter. In my mind he is another man who lived, and who tried to make sense of that experience through words. Later, if I happen on his name in a used bookstore, if I find it, perhaps, in a musty old anthology, I will take that as my cue to renew my appreciation. And I will remember once again that he was born in the same year as the poet Carl Sandburg, and the widely unknown farmer who was my mother’s father, that steady man who chopped kindling, ever wary of his hernia.