"Things as they are/Are changed upon the blue guitar."
I no longer own a typewriter, so I looked around for a notebook and a pen. I found them foreign objects, and inefficient. I looked for a dictionary, but had only a small paperback that didn’t contain what I required. I wanted confirmation of something I’d been told: that the etymological root of the word “poet” was “maker.” Without my usual tools to search, I was thrown back on my own experience for proof.
Our poet-friend is certainly a maker. Not just of lovely poems, though that is beyond argument, but also other things. It is essential to her, I think, to make things daily: clever little pin cushions and coasters made from scraps of cloth, place-setting markers of stiff paper adorned with simple drawings or on which are fastened a single leaf. She makes books of poems, too: folded paper bound by a bit of thread.
She is the only person I know who sews. I tried to think when I’d last had need of a straight pin—or, for that matter, a needle—and couldn’t remember. Let alone the last time I’d seen a packet containing a pattern from which a smock or jumper might be cut out. Are such things even sold anymore?
I kept coming back to the photograph of a painting of a tomato I’d found (thus, a tomato twice removed). How appealing it was! More appealing, somehow, than a real tomato—but also real itself. I thought, too, of the drawings and paintings of another maker of lovely things, the background taken from, perhaps, the liner of an envelope, and drawn on it, maybe, a shard of pottery washed up on the beach. And I thought of the rubber shoe sole made into a boat that couldn’t float.
Wallace Stevens is right, I see: just as a picture of a tomato is a thing distinct from the tomato, so any poem or work of art is "part of the res itself and not about it." The equation is, in fact, simple enough: a made thing is a real thing, too.