Sunday, July 8, 2012

In The Fields - A Magpie Tale

Chilmark Hay, 1951 by Thomas Hart Benton
by way of Tess Kincaid

In The Fields

Your leather straps sit
on my withers and beneath
them is where my sweat
darkens my long lines.

Beneath my cracked hooves the chaff
coughs up golden dust.
I wheeze, snort and sneeze.

Weaving left and right, my head
gives me this wide field
but I can't see you,
just feel the bite of your whip
always a surprise
on my flinching flesh
as I strain against the leads.
It's time for my lunch.

Written as a Magpie Tale
July 8, 2012 9:52 AM

Wiki says: "Thomas Hart Benton (April 15, 1889 – January 19, 1975) was an American painter and muralist. Along with Grant Wood and John Steuart Curry, he was at the forefront of the Regionalist art movement. His fluid, almost sculpted paintings showed everyday scenes of life in the United States. Though his work is strongly associated with the Midwest, he painted scores of works of New York City, where he lived for more than 20 years; Martha’s Vineyard, where he summered for much of his adult life; the American South; and the American West."

Benton was outspoken and held unpopular opinions throughout his life. He irritated political people by not being political enough and he irked others by failing to sugar coat regional history. His murals are often reminiscent of socialist art. In a series of murals depicting the history of Indiana, he included a scene of the Ku Klux Klan in full dress, a group in fact which was at its peak in Indiana at the time.

He was anti-gay enough, anti-the mainstream art world enough to get fired from a teaching position. He called the typical art museum, "a graveyard run by a pretty boy with delicate wrists and a swing in his gait."

Jackson Pollock, perhaps his most famous student, said of Benton that Benton's traditional teachings gave him something to rebel against.

Chilmark is located on Martha's Vineyard, where Benton spent many of his summers.


  1. Poor old horse...I like this point of view...Benton is one of my favorite artists...quintessentially American...

  2. i hope the horse got a good lunch!! xx

  3. I love that it's in the horses' point of view... poor thing.

  4. Nice point of view from the horse ~ I read about him too ~ He was quite a rebel in his own way ~

  5. Isn't that interesting! Tradition being something to rebel against! Even when you are not in agreement, there is always something to be learned, to take away. The horse, the whip, the flinch, the ride.

  6. def like you taking the POV of the horse and letting us look in just a bit on his he is hungry...and the sting of the lead, i think we like to imagine that it does not hurt....but...

  7. I think it's a testament to his art that so many took the POV of the horse this go-round. Yours is particularly good.


  8. Well done and well written. Thanks.
    P.S. Dump the word verification.

  9. I hope the horse got a bite to eat too!! Fun story!

  10. I don't know whether to feel bad at being singled out or amused. The price I pay for not having word verification is spam. It happens quickly and often. The robots apparently like the content of my blog. I have more than one post that I had to take down because of persistent spam. All this stops with word verification and that is more important to me than comments of people who apparently don't get spammed.

  11. In other words, I am prepared to never see comments from people who don't want to or even can't get past word verification. The reason it is getting so hard to solve is that the robots are getting so good at solving the verification. Apparently not everyone has the problem but once you do it doesn't stop.

  12. I thought these observations from the work horse's viewpoint were profoundly sad but ever so realistic. Thank you for sharing this unique perspective, Christopher. =D


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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