William Kosman - Artiste Peintre

Saturday, March 14, 2020

#97 - My Friends - A Surprise With Poetry and Painting

                    "Best Friends"

Fellow Art Lovers:

A funny thing happened on the way to writing this post about combining poetry and painting. Some time ago, I painted a work in North Philadelphia featuring two happy young women who were good friends, maybe even best friends. Maybe two months ago, in reviewing my file of paintings, I spotted that painting, and I told myself that it would be great to write a poem about friendship. (Actually, I’m a firm believer that true friends are a key to a good life.) 

                    "Watch Me Jump"

But there was a problem: Here’s a poem by an old man, yours truly, and I use a painting with two appealing women to illustrate my poem. Of course, I have to write from my own point of view, and the concept remains valid. And, in fact, I’ve already written in one of my postings that – in general – a poem can inspire a painting, or the other way around. 

Just one word about the actual writing of the poem: “My Friends” was not an easy poem to write, and I took quite a while thinking, revising and looking for just the right phrase or word. One reason is that I try to achieve a certain rhythm of each sentence and the frequent use of rhyme. For me, using rhythm and rhyme pull the text together and give it a ring of unity. In fact, it’s just like using the unity of color and of brushstroke in a painting. 

                    "Quince Street"

Now, back to my paintings: I was going through my file of paintings, I realized I actually have painted numerous works that illustrate friendship. So, here are five that show friendship and that I will show you:

1.     “Best Friends,” the two young women painting smiling and strutting along Allegheny Ave. in North Philadelphia. 
2.     “Quince Street,” a charming street just off Locust between 11th and 12th Streets, where a sweet women admires the fallen leaves during fall with her dog. 
3.     “Watch Me Jump,” a mother and her daughter walking in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. 
4.     “Conversation,” two friends engaging in a sincere conversation, as only real friends can have, also in Crown Heights. 
5.     “Crossing Spring Garden,” a mother crossing that important thoroughfare in Philadelphia with her young son. 


Just as I’ve done already with two of my poems, I recited this last work, “My Friends,” to the Moonstone Poetry group (www.moonstoneartcenter.org), this time, on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, at Fergie’s Pub (1214 Sansom St., Philadelphia 19107). Frankly, this session was one of the most enthusiastic and festive I’ve attended with the group so far.  The entire text of the poem “My Friends” is right below this lengthy introduction.

                    "Crossing Spring Garden"

From my website (www.williamkosman.com), you can also use the links to access some of my other offerings. Also, I invite you to visit my Etsy store (www.etsy.com - WilliamKosmanFineArt). And if you’d like to visit my studio(#310, 915 Spring Garden St., Philadelphia 129123), to see these works and others in their canvas and oil, please send me an e-mail at billkosman@gmail.com.

As usual, if you have any ideas to share, of course I’d love to hear them. 

Thanks for listening. 




 My Friends 

By William Kosman

I wish I could someday see, 
All the friends who were dear to me.
I’d want to tell them I’m just so sorry,
I did only part of what I said I would,
But I feel so good for the part I could. 

The world out there’s a dangerous place,
There’s evil stuff happenin’ at every pace. 
Now I’m gonna swear I’ll always try harder.  
I promise I won’t be stingy with my time or my dough, 
And when you ask for help, I won’t be so slow. 

Promises kept or promises dropped, 
Sometime it’s just how things come our way.
It’s never clear how much we can help our friends. 
Promises dropped or promises kept,
Sometimes it’s how hard we’re willing to pray. 

Growing old has its own set of problems,
It hurts everywhere that I could list in columns.  
If your misery’s so bad you just stay home.  
And if all you do is counting your aches and pains, 
All that complaining is all that remains.  

When it comes to time, we don’t have much more,
But we’re here ‘til we hear that knock on the door. 
We all got some special skills and talents, 
That we can share to brighten other folks’ days,
So, we’re gonna keep tryin’ in our own special ways, 

Years ago we tore that phony façade right down,
Now we can share our thoughts and secrets, 
We can giggle and laugh at the dumbest jokes, 
We know that none of it will be repeated. 
Once in a while bad taste should be applauded.    

So now when I’m feeling blue,
And nothing’s going my way,
I won’t let my problems build up in my mind,
I won’t beat my head against that brick wall,
And I’ll try to force myself to give a friend a call.  

I wish I could gather my old friends around me,
To talk about all the great things we were gonna do – or not.
We can’t change how this big bad world is – or not. 
But we can make sure what we do about it. 
We can make sure we’re there to help our friends survive it.