Sunday, January 07, 2007

Wheebarrows and beauty

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

~ William Carlos Williams

This isn’t quite Williams’ wheelbarrow and there are no white chickens in the yard. But the barrow is full of green, ready, even in winter.

There seems to be a dispute as to whether the first wheelbarrow was invented in Greece, China, or the Roman Empire. Maybe the idea channeled several places simultaneously, an "archetypal" inspiration.

The wheelbarrow on the farm where I grew up was not the picturesque barrow of Williams or this photo. It was cast iron with a large rubber tire, and was heavy and awkward to push. Its only colors were streaks of rust in varying shades. An industrial barrow for industrial times, when beauty was often considered a worthless frill.

Perhaps that’s why so much depends upon a red wheelbarrow, glazed with rain water…

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When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.
- Chinese proverb

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