“But the Beholder Wanting —“

This is a recent post on one of my favorite blogs, cross-ties. After I read it —-

At the end of the first stanza of The Parakeets at Karekare, Allen Curnow refers to “a scene waiting to be painted.”

Apt, I’d say; apt in a way that I reckon all of us understand. But, in fact, it’s not true — not literally true.

[Gerard Manley] Hopkins (GMH) touched on something similar in the final stanza of his Hurrahing in Harvest: “These things, these things were here and but the beholder | Wanting …”

There’s a clue here — in the word, ‘wanting’. Used in this way, the word indicates that the encounter between “the beholder” and “these things” is something absent but desired. Desired by whom?

Desired by Possibility itself!

*       *       *

and inspired — by possibility? — I picked up my camera and went out on the off-chance that I would encounter some scene, somewhere, waiting to be painted, some scene with but the beholder wanting —

And this is some of what I came home with:

and this:

and finally, this,  in which I glimpsed the principle of the Japanese shakkei, a “borrowed” view:

I can only hope that, as a beholder, I am not too much wanting.

The intention, at least, is there —

This entry was posted in Art, Etcetera, Photography, Poetry, Quotes, Wonderings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to “But the Beholder Wanting —“

  1. I love unpainted or half-painted, weathered wood. It speaks to me of endurance.


    • Touch2Touch says:

      Interesting comment.
      I think I usually respond to texture, at least something aesthetic — so it’s intriguing to think in terms of character, or quality.
      Thank you for that!


  2. Rebekah says:

    The colour scheme in the two first ones is somewhat subdued … desaturated …

    There are days that are so monochrome so it looks like the pictures I take could be in b/w … and I like them as they are.


    • Touch2Touch says:

      It was an experiment in seeing what came OUT of the camera itself (seemingly) —
      I kept finding myself thinking of a Meetinghouse, of Shakers, of Quakers —
      Odd, because it’s none of those things, but the plainness, the texture, and yes, the subdued and desaturated colors — obviously adds up to a mental picture for me.


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