Faith K. Stern, Aesthetic Realism consultant, created the popular website beautyofnyc.org with her husband John Stern. She says:
When I was growing up in Brooklyn, every summer our family went to Brighton Beach, along with thousands of other people, to relax and have a good time. Yet as I looked at those men and women, I never thought of them as having a rich inner life like my own.
Years later when I read Eli Siegel’s poem “Ocean, Mr., Mrs. Blink,” I thought, “How kind, how deep, how beautiful it is!” Mr. Siegel shows that the Blinks—who represent people I once so easily dismissed—have wonder and grandeur, are deep and mysterious, related to the wide, multitudinous world of sun, trolley cars, the sky, green waves, their children.
There is a proud, rhythmical thump, and also delicacy and suspense, in the line “Such experience has had Mrs. Blink, housewife of Brooklyn, wife of a dry-goods man of Brooklyn.” The rise and fall in it are like the rise and fall of Mrs. Blink’s feelings and life. This poem affected me so deeply that I wanted to study Aesthetic Realism and learn how to have the wide, kind way of seeing present in it.
Ocean, Mr., Mrs. Blink
Noise near beaches,
Scampering of thousands of humans who work in factories and stores; and homes.
Ocean near the scampering citizens and citizenesses.
Citizens go to ocean;
Citizenesses scream coyly.
Hey, ocean, how far you go.
Mr. Blink is on a big wave.
The fat legs of Mrs. Blink are pretty beneath the green, heavy ocean waves; such a place for Mrs. Blink’s fat, old legs.
Brooklyn near, hot Sunday afternoon with trolley-cars going all around and all around; in hot dust, hot dust, going up to Brooklyn’s hot sky, July, hot sky.
Mr. Blink is on a big, new wave.
Mrs. Blink is getting cold.
She is on the beach now.
Mrs. Blink, mother of three, is walking on the beach now.
Mrs. Blink is not so graceful.
Mrs. Blink’s first is called Irving.
Mrs. Blink thinks of late supper.
Mr. Blink is enjoying a big, new wave, near Brooklyn.
Mr. Blink and Mrs. Blink are different.
So are two waves.
Mrs. Blink is a thinking lady.
She thinks all the time.
Her second is called Arthur.
Her third is called Ethel.
Such experience has had Mrs. Blink, housewife of Brooklyn, wife of a dry-goods man of Brooklyn.
Mrs. Blink doesn’t know her Arthur is going to die soon.
Mrs. Blink doesn’t know everything.
Look at the fat legs of Mrs. Blink in the sun.
Look at the hair on Mrs. Blink’s fat legs, hair on Mrs. Blink’s fat legs in the sun.
Mrs. Blink loves her Irving.
Irving will be a lawyer.
Irving is now at a party.
He likes Irma.
Those waves; that ocean.
That ocean, that ocean.
Mrs. Blink’s ocean.
Mrs. Blink and Mr. Blink are by and in the great big, blue, green ocean, near Brooklyn.