Souvenir

I could not
look at it from be
fore or aft
er, only
the angle of gone, dissolved,
empty, vanishing–

not just the
material thing
that had been
dispossessed,
but what it represented–
a piece of myself,

never to
be recovered–and
here I am
left watching,
clinging to impermanence
like water and wind

“The Kick-About prompt of souvenir seemed perfect: my daughter had given me a small sketchbook, and every day I sat on my beach chair with my feet in the waves doing a drawing, and then writing a haiku to accompany it.  The sketchbook would be my souvenir.

On the last day of my beach vacation the ocean was quite rough, due to Hurricane Henri passing by, so I sat far up on the sand, where only a small piece of a dying wave occasionally brushed my toes.  Holding my sketchbook up to let the watercolor pencil drawing dry I was suddenly totally upended by a rogue wave that covered me completely. I stood up, soaked, clutching my pencils in one hand, but watching my sketchbook being pulled under and out to sea. 

I will replay that image in my mind for a long time, maybe forever.

When I got home, I channeled my emotional turmoil into neocolors, drawing from memory the ocean that was now fixed in my mind.  The sketchbook drawings were so much more beautiful though.  At least that’s how I’ll always remember them.”

For dVerse, where Ingrid asks us to attempt “writing your way out of a place of pain“. I drew it first, then I wrote.

recalibrations

where is the center?
always moving–
I can’t locate
the pivot

always moving–
the place of stillness,
the pivot
of this labyrinth

stillness
retracing
this labyrinth
emerging

retracing
beginning
emerging
expanding

to begin,
I relocate–
expanding
the center

For Earthweal, where Ingrid asks us to consider our labyrinthine times.

Still #2

70 years cranes s

“It doesn’t make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who’s dead.”
― Joseph Heller

“And a step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.”
–Kurt Vonnegut

crane 2s

August 6 marks the 76th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, which was followed by the bombing of Nagasaki on August 9—the only time nuclear weapons have been used in war.

Between 130,000 and 230,000 people were killed, mostly civilians.  Many of those who survived the bombing itself were stricken with radiation sickness and died painful and premature deaths.

The story of 12-year-old Sadako Sasaki’s attempt to make 1000 origami cranes after falling ill with leukemia turned the Japanese Crane, long a symbol of immortality, into a symbol of the wish for nuclear disarmament and world peace.

There are currently less than 1800 Japanese cranes surviving in the wild, for the usual human reasons—loss of habitat and food sources, pollution and poisioning, poaching, disease.

And so it goes…

burning floods
birds singing silent
ash and bones

cranes s

For Frank’s haibun prompt at dVerse, August. I’ve written about this in August and used these images several times before.

 This is our cry.
This is our prayer.
Peace in the world.

–inscription on the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima
http://www.nippon.com/en/images/k00009/

crane 5s

Sadako Sasaki was a toddler living in Hiroshima when it was bombed by the United States.  Ten years later she died as a result of leukemia, “the atomic bomb disease.”  If you don’t know the story of Sadako and the 1000 Cranes, you can read about it here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadako_and_the_Thousand_Paper_Cranes

70 years close up 1s

Newborn

Where there’s life, there hope–
your tiny hand is full of promise,
growing into luminescence,
reaching out, moving towards light.

Your tiny hand is full of promise–
it opens like the sky,
reaching out, moving towards light
like a flower awakening.

It opens like the sky,
complete and infinite–
like a flower awakening,
dancing with the wind.

Complete and infinite,
you sparkle the darkness–
dancing with the wind
like a trail of stars.

You sparkle the darkness–
a mirror, a pathway
like a trail of stars–
everything all at once.

A mirror, a pathway
growing into luminescence–
everything all at once–
where there’s life, there’s hope.

Merril at dVerse asks us to write a poem incorporating a proverb.

where there’s life, there’s hope

sabbatical

It seems like every day I read a new article about the need for a sabbatical from technology and the fast pace of the world. Those slow pandemic days are fading fast.

Some people talk about a secular Sabbath, some want to revive the religious one. Some people propose not only ditching technology for 24 hours each week, but creating new shared rituals and places for community during those times. Some talk about just taking a day to go and sit with the trees, to experience the world at their pace. I wonder how many of us could actually slow down and withdraw from our devices enough to actually spend a day that way.

And all of these ideas are a hard sell in a capitalist world.

the water reflects
the world through the trees dappled
sky moving over
rocks and feet planted
like hushed reeds waiting to sing
the songs of quiet movement
and transforming light

This drawing is part of my attempt to try different things in my art journal. Many artists write on their pages as well as draw. The image is based on an advertisement photo–I removed the models and the product (I can’t remember now what it was) and wrote spontaneously about the landscape. Whatever they were selling, I wasn’t buying. But I always notice trees.

let life move
while you rest outside
and listen

For earthweal, Interdependence Day.

Poem up at Visual Verse

in between
simultaneous
transition

My poem “To Cleave” has been posted at Visual Verse. As I’ve done in the past, I’ve written a greatly distilled version, above. You can read the original poem here.

The art is my ink and neocolor interpretation of Tanya Layko’s prompt photo. I’ve been trying to do more work in my sketchbook, inspired by the journals of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson. I got the book “Raggin’ On”, based on an exhibition of her work, out of the library. I knew her textile work, but not her drawing and painting. She often draws freely in ink, and then paints or draws or writes over and around the drawings just as freely. What I learned most from her work was not to labor too much, to get the essence down without trying too hard. Robinson had a full and interesting life.

Above is the original drawing I did, and below is Layko’s photo.

ancient history

just fragments
reduced to a series of numbers–
take a photo to remember,
to contain the unknowable

reduced to a series of numbers,
ink on paper,
blurred now, salty–

take a photo to remember
the spirits now dispersed,
unable to find a vessel

to contain the unknowable–
all the infinite subtractions–
what remains has no name

A trimeric poem for Grace at dVerse. It’s very like a pantoum I think, so of course I like it.

I did this torn painting 6 years ago ago for a post mourning the fact that governments all over the world were destroying ancient art if they did not like the culture or religion it belonged to. Like the earth’s resources, once it’s gone it can never be replaced.

world weary

you drift along,
along and along,
without wind or sea–
can you see
yourself moving?  or is
everything drifting?  is
it all doldrums,
your mind sailing on doldrums,
on emptiness, what is
no longer there—was
anything ever there?

you long to immerse
yourself, to immerse
your body in the sea,
the primal waters of the sea–
to float and forget, to
dive and immerse
yourself in life’s womb, to
close your eyes, to
shrink, becoming
a stone waiting to
be cast and skipped rippling
back to where you belong—

where do you belong?

you drift along…

Laura at dVerse has us repeating ourselves. Not difficult for me, as my mind likes to travel back and forth and revisit what it has already said before.

oyster shell 4s

My images are also recycled.

hither

I can almost hear them
echoed
on repeat through my bones
spiralled
gifts collected in the overlap of
landsea
the fluid movement that follows
after
what hasn’t happened yet
cleansing

sheer sound waves etched in side winds
calling
I can see them sometimes—doubled
visions
currents vibrating against a blurred sky
gyring
like the shadow of a raptor glimpsed
briefly
between the singing of reflected light
sailed whole

In my mind the Prospect Cottage prompt from the Kick-About, below, intersected with the Otherworld of Brendan’s earthweal prompt and then merged with my shells, collected over years of visits to the ocean. The shore is where I lose myself and meet “Not Here” and Prospect Cottage felt like it was a portal into that suspension of the normal framing of time and space. “Like landing on the moon,” as the narrator said.

Most of my shells are still in storage, but I’ve carried some weathered whelks along with each move I’ve made, both to look at and draw. The spirals sing, and bring the sea to me. I drew three of them from different angles on the same page–first pencil, then colored pencil, then with a brush in gouache.

I decided to add grounds. It’s not always easy to tell when you’ve gone too far, but I think I definitely did so with the colored pencils. I may take an eraser to the ground to fade it so the shells don’t get so lost. I was trying to capture the garden of Prospect Cottage.

The pencil drawing was impossible to photograph well, but I like the weathered effect. I wrote words around and connecting the shells, which you can see better in the close up. These are quotes from the video interspersed with my own observations. This one has exactly the feeling I wanted, of secret messages, indecipherable voices on the wind.

The painted shells–it felt so good to get my gouache out of storage and paint with it again!–captures the colors I was feeling from both prompts–a sense both of otherness and belonging, of being just exactly in the right place without time.

The Song of Love 1 and 2

1 Here

a handless glove, a stone
visage.  A blue orb
planted with life.  Dust
seeds blown by
cosmic winds.

Look backward to see
the future.  Ruins
of visions.  Monumental
doors to nowhere.
The detritus of humanity.
Is this all
that we wish
to leave behind?

Canto d amore - Song of love - Giorgio De Chirico - 1914

The Kick-About prompt for this week is de Chirico’s enigmatic painting “The Song of Love”, above. The collage I did evolved from a lot of other ideas, merging with Merril’s quadrille prompt at dVerse to use the word seed, and Brendan’s prompt at earthweal to write Songs of the Earth Shaman.

2  A Meditation or Maybe a Prayer

for those who ask and those
who don’t answer.  For those
who always make way and those
who have never been found.
For what we know and refuse
to acknowledge.  For what
stands in the center of what
we think we believe.  For what
remains when faith has fallen
apart.  For the times that we
begin again and the times
that seem to have no ending.
For what we hold against
others and what we keep
to ourselves.  For the impossible
and the improbable and all
the borders we draw to keep
from finding out.

Listen.  I am
waiting for you
to come home.

I needed to consider this seemingly unsolvable riddle that is human life on earth from more than one side.