Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thank you, Mary Oliver

Spring Fever
28 x 22
Acrylic. India ink

Thank you, Mary Oliver 
for bringing the miracle of the everyday 
to my attention.

Your love of all free and easy things;
the wind swimming across a field,
flower heads drowsy, intoxicated by the sun,
bees drunken-heady with nectar-

with every poem
you remind me of the grandeur of simplicity.

Slow down,
be amazed, 
you seem to say. 

When I do,
my eyes soften,
my breath catches,
I bow and my heart sings.

Thank you, Mary Oliver
for bringing the miracle of the everyday 
to my attention.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A bride married to amazement

Beneath The Surface no 2
30 x 22 inches

The abstract expressionist painter, Joan Mitchell, when asked to describe her art volleyed back, "I can't explain it. It's poetry on canvas!" 

I don't care for poetry that dances at the edges of allegorical ambiquity; such a tease.

I like poetry that dances on the solid imagination, where the mind lands on a knowable surface.
Where the poet strings together a series of words which immediately paint the canvas of my mind with seeable imagery.

No surprise my three favorite poets are Mary Oliver, Billy Collins and Leonard Cohen and I also love the meditative, prayer like poetry of John O'Donohue.

The poem and the poet live on when we pass on their poems to new eyes, fresh hearts, true minds. This morning I read the poem below.

Her word path is clear, subject complex, but not in a pompous, elitist way, and at the end of the journey, you are left in awe - at least I was.

When Death Comes
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes 
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as nor more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field of daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something 
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all mu life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.  
                                                                                Mary Oliver

Sunday, April 19, 2015

These are the days we live for

acrylic on vellum

Surviving another arctic winter in the Midwest, I cherish mornings like today's. Before the neighborhood wakes and the endless cacophony of automobile engines, it's serene and along with my two companions, Max and Mollie, we absorb the quiet around us.

The morning, the mourning doves and a singular cardinal inspired this little poem.

Ode to Spring

Mourning dove
serenading the loss of the moon
and the ascension of the sun.

Cardinal singing his sermon of praise -
if only I knew his language.

Is he praising the ski
for its azure beauty?

Is he complimenting the sun
for its soft morning heat?

Is he waking the trees,
gently reminding them to bud?

Is he congratulating the tulips & daffodils
for crowning the earth -
in such colorful splendor?

Is he greeting me? -  
sweeping my eyes skyward
to find him perching on the very top
of a yet leafless tree-
puffing out his crimson chest as he senses
his goal achieved
and in a final operatic trill, 
good morning!
good morning!
good morning!
remember this moment,
cherish this pause.