“So much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens.”
Impossible not to visualize right?
This poem's a photograph frozen in time. It’s also a waving flag tribute to how powerfully simple poetry can be. I’ve sometimes wondered if it has no other meaning than to demonstrate how purposeful word-choice loves nothing better than to waltz an image around the dance-floor for all to ogle at.
But some say, “So what?” People criticize this poem; they question its point. I guess I can’t blame critics for dismissing an imagery feast. Why not eat the feast instead of just stare at its beauty? And that’s fine. People see what they see, enjoy what they enjoy, appreciate what they appreciate.
I’ve known and kept this poem in my thoughts like a note in my wallet for many years. It just stuck with me. Those words bubble up sometimes when I encounter a strong visual, maybe while reading or watching a film or in the everyday actions of all the people around me. I think the heart of this poem isn’t really the image though. It’s the first four words: so much depends upon.” Upon what? Upon who? Why so much?
Picture this simple description for example: instead of loading their patient into the ambulance, two EMTs in a hospital parking lot talk with him for fifteen minutes. No big deal right? From a distance, would most people even notice? But for someone, so much depends upon that act, that opportunity, that momentary freedom from the weight of the world. Just for a little while, just for fifteen minutes in the fresh air among the tall trees on a warm day in late summer thanks to the kindness of strangers. To someone, so much can depend on that. So much.