Piece of the Week: Wanting the Sticky, Salty Sweetness

Piece of the Week: Wanting the Sticky, Salty Sweetness

The warm weather is finally upon us! Bluebonnets have bloomed and the daylight continues into the evening. It wasn’t too long ago that the cold winds kept us cooped up in our homes, as we covered our shoulders with blankets; we could only dream of the sun’s warm kisses on our skin. Jennifer Christy was in a similar situation as she began another piece for her “Push Play” exhibit. The rain was falling on a cold day and Jennifer’s wish found itself on her canvas. She craved the warm breeze and the smell of salt in the air. Like the rain, her strokes followed a downward course; the lines fell parallel with the circles and the little jelly fish stayed with the motion. The warm greens and pinks reminisced of the summer days while the sea creatures revealed a poem behind the painting. As Jennifer Christy continued into the painting, she was reminded of a poem by Edna St Vincent Millay. The poem later inspired the title of the painting, “Wanting the Sticky, Salty Sweetness.”


Searching my heart for its true sorrow,

This is the thing I find to be:

That I am weary of words and people,

Sick of the city, wanting the sea;

Wanting the sticky, salty sweetness

Of the strong wind and shattered spray,

Wanting the loud sound and the soft sound

Of the big surf that breaks all day.


Always before about my dooryard,

Marking the reach of the winter sea,

Rooted in sand and dragging driftwood,

Straggled the purple wild sweet pea.

Always I climbed the wave at morning,

Shook the sand from my shoes at night,

That now am caught beneath big buildings,

Stricken with noise, confused with light.


If I could hear the green piles groaning.

Under the windy, wooden piers,

See once again the bobbing barrels,

And the black sticks that fence the weirs;

If I could see the weedy mussels

Crusting the wrecked and rotting hulls,

Hear once again the hungry crying

Overhead, of the wheeling gulls;


Feel once again the shanty straining

Under the turning of the tide,

Fear once again the rising freshet,

Dread the bell in the fog outside,

I should be happy!—that was happy

All day long on the coast of Maine.

I have a need to hold and handle

Shells and anchors and ships again.


I should be happy, that am happy.

Never at all since I came here.

I am too long away from water;

I have a need of water near.

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay