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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 6, Number 2, June 2012

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Gary LeBel
Cumming, Georgia, USA


Watermelon

At the old Wormsloe Plantation museum near Savannah, Georgia, hangs a watercolor painted by an early settler some two hundred and fifty years ago, the picture of a watermelon. Intensely bold with the child-like simplicity of folk art, what comes through immediately is the artist's love of color and zest for form, a verisimilitude sought and achieved that captures both the object's is-ness and its pleasures, feats which are never possible when only the mere likeness of a thing is traced and color halfheartedly added: I stand transfixed, enjoying its boldness, its irrepressible flatness and luxuriant flesh, its intricately mottled rind, the indigo seeds each so carefully painted,

and with a small leap in imagination you might sense the artist's pride when, with the last stroke having been made, he sets it aside to dry, moving back a step or two to appraise it, his young bride looking on approvingly as it joins, as Borges might say, the world's sum of things,

and she may reach for his hand, leading him thru the open door and past the study's window to the garden, her free hand's fingers floating dreamily thru the young corn's silken tassels

to the patch they'd planted together beside the pine-woods, always sunny, where the watermelons, like her belly, are just now starting to bulge . . .

twilight . . .
the path her dreaming cuts
thru the buttercups


Note: The artist: Philip Georg Friedrich von Reck (fl. 1736-c. 1790) in Ebenezer, Georgia.

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