Rise Rockwell, Paint Again

Rise Rockwell, Paint Again

A Poem by Robert Ray
"

Addiction, especially to opioids, is now a national crisis. Communities and families suffer immeasurably from these wicked drugs. This poem speaks to that crisis---and a hope for brighter days.

"


Small-town America, Rockwell faded visions;

American dreams crushed---life's harsh realities;

Too little money, too many poor decisions;

Big dreams now a broken man's fantasies.

 

Tough job, minimum wage, double shifts;

Grind, strain, sleep, repeat, pay your debts;

Maybe (if Murphy stays away) buy a few gifts;

Take a short trip, cover a few dumb bets.

 

Back to work, on the line---then the fall;

Too little sleep, too much weight;

Missed shifts, pain, doctor’s call;

Insurance forms, co-pays, long waits.

 

Doctor's order, three weeks off work;

Ah, relief, a written script---those TV pills;

Finally, less pain, some hope, more perk;

Magic from the moguls' drug mills.

 

Days, weeks, months, one year passes;

Pain again---no more hope or TV drugs;

Too many easy scripts for the masses;

Crackdowns, doctors deny, hello street thugs;

Pills, tar, powder, whatever your pleasure;

Bring your coins, cash, or stolen treasure.


A friend dies, then a sister or brother;

Thugs get the banker's mortgage payment;

Collection calls, foreclosure, living with mother;

Hope traded for dope; first arrest and arraignment;

Second offense, public defender, plea deal, jail time;

More petty crime; another rapper's worn-out rhyme.


Oh, Rockwell, our master illustrator, rise and paint!

Something cheerful, original, though slightly realistic;

More order, less chaos, urban or rural---but not so quaint;

Still, something rosy and hopeful, but less 1950's romantic;


Norman, we need a Four Freedoms for our troubled age;

Brilliant for sure, but not without imperfection;

An inspiring American portrait from the Stockbridge Sage; 

An image to spark a flame, light a new path, a new direction.


Paint us a brighter future; the human spirit, unshackled, advancing;

A child, painted in spring hues, smiling, no trauma or scars.

Pick the perfect colors, and get your brush dipping and dancing;

A new dawn, new day, new white moon, a perfect peace under God's stars.



© 2018 Robert Ray



Author's Note

Robert Ray
I struggled with this poem, mostly because I want to believe again in Norman Rockwell's painted world, even if I know he overlooked the human conditions and suffering of his time. Still, his work inspires and lifts our spirits. We need that now. I welcome your thoughts.

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Featured Review

This is difficult. I was in Maine in the fall, and picked up a Norman Rockwell print. I believe it is titled the four freedoms. This painting means a lot to me and I believe it still holds true today if people can still get behind it... again.

Your poem, is the sad reality many Americans are facing. Our flower child parents wanted to share this dream with the world. Only one problem, they wanted to save the world, not understanding that it would also change us.

Posted 2 Months Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Karen Redburn

2 Months Ago

Let your words express the same optimism my friend. We as writers, paint with our words.
Robert Ray

2 Months Ago

Indeed, Karen. I'm thinking about a few changes now. Thanks again!
Karen Redburn

2 Months Ago

Your welcome.



Reviews

Ultimately, Robert, "what is" does not most matter; what we aspire to determines our fate.
Rockwell continually showed Americans what they could and should be.
Outstanding poem!


Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Robert Ray

1 Month Ago

Yes, and that's why even generations still adore him and his work. He is hope. Thanks for the read.. read more
Your message is strong mostly becuz of your extensive use of vivid details. For the first six stanzas, it's a little hard to find the connection to Rockwell, then the switch is a little sudden in stanza seven. But regardless of this little bump, overall you've chosen an awesome & obvious analogy, comparing today's issues with past times that Rockwell showed so romantically. The last three stanzas are a stark contrast to the first six, leaving the reader with a powerful sense of hope. I always prefer when a writer shows a dire situation, but then offers a hopeful way to look at it, which you've done very well here (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Robert Ray

2 Months Ago

Margie, thanks again for your time and thoughts. I must admit I'd given no consideration to those th.. read more
barleygirl

2 Months Ago

I think most writers are undisciplined & raw. Many don't want to change the current posting & I can .. read more
Robert Ray

2 Months Ago

I absolutely agree! I've learned so much since joining this forum less than one month ago. My writi.. read more
You paint wonderfully with your words my friend. The most a bygone era artist could hope for is that others are inspired to carry the torch of goodness forward into modern works of art. I When you visited the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockridge, did they mention he lived there for 14 years until his studio burned down? I should clarify my earlier comments. During a road trip to Maine we spent a night in Rutland, Vermont. On our way to Maine the following day , we stumbled upon the Norman Rockwell museum in Stockridge.

Anyway, this is an excellent poem and my computer is acting up.

Great read cheers!

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Robert Ray

2 Months Ago

Thank you again, Karen. I appreciated the second read and additional feedback.
I agree with your my friend.
"Paint us a brighter future; the human spirit, unshackled, advancing;
A child, painted in spring hues, smiling, no trauma or scars.
Pick the perfect colors, and get your brush dipping and dancing;
A new dawn, new day, new white moon, a perfect peace under God's stars."
The above lines are needed. Painting, words and song. We need a sixties revolution for peace and kindness. Old days of family dinners and picnics are needed again. Thank you for sharing the outstanding poetry.
Coyote




Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Robert Ray

2 Months Ago

Thank you, Coyote. I always appreciate you taking time to read and comment. We're of the same spir.. read more
Coyote Poetry

2 Months Ago

I try to follow the old ways. We set the example for our kids and you are welcome my friend.
super powerful the last part is overwhelmingly beautiful forceful... you write as if you have written for a long time... yes Rockwell paints idyllic works of the American family, the family unity , the dinners together,,, life less complicated in a style that is anything but chaotic or wild... or lost, great job you have done

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Robert Ray

2 Months Ago

Thank you, Marilyn. I appreciate your kind words. We need more Rockwell today, if nothing else but.. read more
marilyn 1225

2 Months Ago

yes i agree
Damn. This one went directly there, where it hurts.
Robert, where do I begin? First of all I must tell you that your poem stings and bites: that is the best compliment you may receive, I believe. There are a lot of poems which are aseptic creations: elegant and formally perfect, but absolutely dead. They may interest, even intrigue, but don't leave anything inside. Your poem is a damn bad beast: it stinks of life, of reality, it scratches the ears, it is hard to get through. But it is ALIVE. It's undoubtly a part of life.
When I entered this forum I honestly did not know what to expect: I was looking for a place to understand modern international writing, somewhere to catch few good ideas to think about. And I was rather disappointed, so far: I had found aesthetical correctness, but not life.
This is maybe one of the first poem that I read which actually leave me something inside. Maybe because that something was already there and your poem has simply awoken it.
A raging uneasiness, the idea of something wrong, not sure if in the background or on the main stage. What is clear that something must be changed and for good.
I like it, even if (I belive) simply liking is reductive. I feel it as a part of my experience also.
Thanks for sharing and letting me see the same point of view, but from someoneelse eyes.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Robert Ray

2 Months Ago

Thank you, sir. I sincerely appreciate you taking time to read and share your thoughts. As you can.. read more
This is difficult. I was in Maine in the fall, and picked up a Norman Rockwell print. I believe it is titled the four freedoms. This painting means a lot to me and I believe it still holds true today if people can still get behind it... again.

Your poem, is the sad reality many Americans are facing. Our flower child parents wanted to share this dream with the world. Only one problem, they wanted to save the world, not understanding that it would also change us.

Posted 2 Months Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Karen Redburn

2 Months Ago

Let your words express the same optimism my friend. We as writers, paint with our words.
Robert Ray

2 Months Ago

Indeed, Karen. I'm thinking about a few changes now. Thanks again!
Karen Redburn

2 Months Ago

Your welcome.

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1297 Views
7 Reviews
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Added on December 6, 2017
Last Updated on January 9, 2018
Tags: addiction, poverty, American dream, hope, despair, depression, resilience, triumph, art, Rockwell, poem, poetry

Author

Robert Ray
Robert Ray

Madison, IN



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