Time Flows

Time flows through a crack

Hidden in the geography

To which life returns

Genny Lim

March 3, 2023

© 2023 Genny Lim

A haiku written in response to Drawn Stone by Andy Goldsworthy.

As curator of Poets in the Galleries from 1990-1994, poet Genny Lim accompanied schoolchildren and teachers on museum field trips, where the students wrote poems in response to works of art of their choosing.

Poets-in-the Galleries: A Project of the Education Department of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Art has been the binding expression in the history of every culture, the memory linking generations and the reflection of every culture’s reality. Young students, from fourth to twelfth grades in the San Francisco Bay Area, were guided through various museum galleries and provided information about the artwork, as well as the function of art in indigenous cultures. They learned that what made art alive was its ability to cross over boundaries—to make the unseen seen and the indescribable felt. For the Mayans, who envisioned the days as faces of gods, or the Yekuana of the Amazonian rainforest, whose ritual baskets bore geometric patterns that held keys for ordering nature, the making of art was a powerful tool for the creation and maintenance of culture. Whether indigenous or classical European, art offered a way for young people to understand other traditions and beliefs.

Once students understood the meaning or purpose of the art they chose to write about, they were given writing exercises, employing a range of poetic forms, designed to stimulate their direct and creative responses to the art. What transpired through their fresh perspectives and imaginations were striking in their honesty, openness and depth. Their poems were published in annual anthologies I compiled and edited from 1990-1993.

–Genny Lim, Poets-in-the Galleries curator, 1990-1994

“Everyone involved with this project has been moved by the ability of these young people from varying backgrounds to transport themselves to other times and cultures and, through the synthesis of art and poetry, give us a glimpse of their inner thoughts and emotions.”

–Lois Gordon, former Education Director, 1991

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