John Taggart

Certain Sculptures of David Smith



Found object


stacked/held together by welding held as against a wall there are no walls

or there are only very thin/porous walls in memory which

is the problem with memory

but as though held still against a wall

an object an emotional

object a body welded made real


these various flares and fluctuations on the surfaces of the cubes

hurt can result from surfaces polished by an

industrial grinder

as light these various/variously flares and fluctuations cannot be


and bafflement and grievous hurt can only result from.


“Being of steel”

being a body and not

to be denied being a body

on its side turned slightly on its side


undeniable “anything can happen to a body”

division the parts made separate made abstract therefore made useful

division and combination/recombination the

separate parts recombined bouquet of concavities given distribution in space.


“…that would rise from water and tower

in the air”

from memory cubes

from beginning in and getting out of

cubes an archipelago of cubes

when the light of day surrounds the stream of vision

like falls upon like and a body is formed by natural affinity

when the light within meets the object diffusing what it touches or what touches it 

over the whole body until they reach the soul causing perception

that which is called sight

the object emotional object the whole body

like a body in a nightgown in a current of water but elevated as if floating

in air


moment of vision

momentary reward of one moment of

vision resisting the corrosives

stainings and streakings of anger bad moods the doubts and the despairs


white over/against blue.



three small bronze wheels one large wheel from a railroad car to

make the wagon


on the wagon what the wagon’s carrying as in a procession

three iron pontoons welded together

the cheapest metal what

it can do in arriving at form nothing else can do

pontoons to make a rounded form to make 

gone what’s going what’s going to be what’s gone to bright lights/big 

city real.



object enactment of motion

stainless steel forcibly cut and welded

enactment of motion this is out/outside of memory 

walking motion

snow no longer in accumulation sky no longer the low grey sky of February

spread out rising and falling field a mountain this is the background

there can be an end to there can be something like graduation

not following/furthest 


field a mountain

not to forget the cost of tools and of materials

how much

must be paid how uncomplainingly in debt the welder must be must continue 

to be.

(Note: an earlier version of this poem appeared in Hambone 18, 2006. JT)



John Taggart‘s most recent book is Is Music: Selected Poems (Copper Canyon, 2010). He lives in the Cumberland Valley of south-central Pennsylvania.