Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Claussens Of Pine Forge

Betty With Images-Bill In Printed Words

Soft strokes flow pigments canvas captured 
By eye with brush, stilling time, framing place.
When works of art are hung, walls disappear,
Rooms fill with pleasant, familiar warm air.

Beyond walls flows the Manatawny Creek.
Hung on walls are painted scenes which speak
Of a time in Pine Forge, just north upstream,
Where things happened thought only a dream.

Through these hills this stream erodes eons past.
Soft moccasin footprints allowed forests to last
Until Europeans arrived here in America by boat,
Pushed upstream beyond where canoes could float

To mine black iron ore for peace but also for war.
Clear cut Hemlock, Pine making charcoal fires roar.
Where the muscles of water drive wheels of a mill
To grind grain for a Nation with empty bellies to fill.

Betty chose paint pigments, husband Bill, black ink.
Betty created canvas images, Bill words that think.
She drew the 20th Century, he the long past away.
They lived on Creek Road, in Pine Forge, that's in Pa.

Where once ran a railroad, though only at night,
No whistle, no smoke, its passengers in life flight,
No rails, only hidden trails across river and creek, North Star showed the way to freedom they seek.

From Titlow to Ives then to Rutter at The Pines,
Its mansion a beacon during these troubled times.
Below on the Manatawny sat Bailey's Roller Mill
Banging away at boiler plate with orders to fill

For locomotives' fire boxes on railroads you all know.
Abolition's in their hearts which men of iron grow :
Thomas, Rutter and Potts ; Samuel, Savage and Nutt 
Forges, the muscle of wars; Revolution and Civil, but,

Are grand paintings like a secret heirloom recipe,
Both needing appreciation for memory's chemistry ?
Or, are paintings, as described by Andrew Wyeth 
Heard to say, "I was merely illustrating my life."

Soft strokes flow pigments canvas captured
By eye with brush, stilling time, framing place.
When works of Art are hung, walls disappear,
Rooms fill with familiar, pleasant warm air.

Ronald C. Downie

Written and read on the occasion of a showing of Betty J. Claussen's Art May 11, 2006. 
Husband, William Edmund Claussen wrote "Pioneers Along The Manatawny".
The Underground Railroad took root in Pottstown and  especially at Pine Forge.

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