Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts

Thursday, May 26

Homegrown Peonies

The poor, struggling peony that was here when we bought the house has managed to produce three viable buds this year. (Last year it had none!) I was briefly undecided if I should let it continue to  grace the side of the house with its small splash of color, or cut the blooms to bring indoors for more study and admiration. The latter decision is what I went with, obviously. The color is almost too intense, too incandescent for my eyes, but as Ralph Ellison said, "Had the price of looking been blindness, I would have looked."  

Another Ralph's poem about May flowers and the nature of beauty also comes to mind:

The Rhodora

On being asked, whence is the flower.
In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals fallen in the pool
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that, if eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for Being;
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask; I never knew;
But in my simple ignorance suppose
The self-same power that brought me there, brought you.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson (1847)

Thursday, March 31

Dark Spring

this long cold dark spring-
small flowers thrust and parry
with the wet grayness

Friday, April 30

The Peonies

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open ---
pools of lace,
white and pink ---
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities ---
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again ---
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

~Mary Oliver

Sunday, February 14


i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

~ee cummings

watercolor heart by Henry Downs (assisted)

Wednesday, January 20

Happy Twins Day!

Or even three or more: it was also the birth of new parents, and grandparents, and uncles! My babies turned 16 today. Hard to believe, yet all so real at the same time. Happy birthday my lovely boys!

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

-William Wordsworth (From Ode: Intimations of Immortality)

Thursday, January 7

Heavy Lifting

There's a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.

None may teach it anything,
'Tis the seal, despair,-
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.

When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, 't is like the distance
On the look of death.

~Emily Dickinson

Saturday, December 12

A Beam of Light

Onwards and Upwards

New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;
Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be,
Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea,
Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key.

James Russell Lowell, 1819–1891, The Present Crisis

Saturday, November 14

Autumn Meadow

Autumn meadow
with painter and sheep (it's Beaver Farm a few weeks ago, of course!) That's Dianne Morrow painting the old ram, Elvis.

To Autumn
by William Blake

O Autumn, Laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.

The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.’
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

Wednesday, October 28

Autumn Leaves

Viewing Autumn Leaves

This bright treasure
scattered with a generous hand-
I bow and reach

Thursday, October 15


I took this shot last weekend at Beaver Farm. For anyone who doesn't know, I have been helping organize a plein air event to benefit my son Henry's wonderful special needs school: Camphill Special School. The main painting day in August was sort of amazing (so much so that mention of Plein Air at Beaver Farm has gotten into several national and regional magazines!) However, some artists wanted to come back to finish up a piece or two, and a couple of people could not make the big day for various reasons, so we held a make-up day this past weekend. The skies were astonishing!

When I shot this I was intending possibly to work from it later to make a painting, but now that I've seen it on the screen there is something so complete about it that I think whatever I saw and loved is already fully expressed. So no need for me to go further with it...which is what I guess I am usually doing when I make a painting: expressing something further about reality. But sometimes the reality is enough.

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)


Sunday, August 23

Against Idleness And Mischief

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!

from Against Idleness And Mischief
Isaac Watts

Wednesday, December 17

and sees something
that makes his hands clench
with cold anxiety.
Wordless, he plucks me by the sleeve
and tries to lead me away.
I laugh and protest,
enjoying the light,
the smell of the bricks and the dirt.
Then I look up and see it too:
the crumbling tower,
the containment netting
bunched like stockings
on an anklebone.
Yes, time to leave.

Wednesday, November 26

every day continuing,
each bite a thank you.
The butter is something else-
a brief swipe of joy.

I don't think there is a more welcoming aroma than that of baking bread. At once soothing and heartening, it perfumes the house and those who live there, and those lucky enough to walk in at the right time always start sniffing the air, eyes brightening.

My suggestion of welcoming, is next week's theme over at One Single Impression, the weekly haiku meme. You are very welcome to visit there!

Sunday, September 28


The baby's warm foot,
dangling free: round, fragrant, soft-
next spring running hard.


My prompt, fleeting, is this week's theme over at One Single Impression, a haiku writer's hang-out. It's interesting to see other people's interpretations of the theme. Why not join in the fun?

Monday, September 15


What chance threw these seeds
on this rockpile - roots gripping,
sharp leaves raised to fight?

Friday, July 11


Night river, and these frail boats
bobbing past, small flames flickering-
only the crickets dare breathe

Monday, February 25


One for sorrow,
two for joy,
three for a girl,
four for a boy,
five for silver,
six for gold,
seven for a secret never to be told...

-old nursery rhyme

Friday, February 15


The World

I saw Eternity the other night
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
All calm, as it was bright,
And round beneath it, Time, in hours, days, years
Driven by the spheres
Like a vast shadow moved, in which the world
And all her train were hurl'd...

-Henry Vaughan (April 17, 1622 − April 28, 1695)

Thursday, February 14


Now, the pink roses.
Youth's passionate red blossoms
following Child's white.
And now comes the lovely pink,
glowing deeply in the heart.


This is a tanka (5, 7, 5, 7, 7) written in response to the prompt at One Deep Breath: "This week I invite you to break the "rules" and write a haiku on the subject of love. If you are a traditionalist, you might choose to write a tanka instead... which, more often, include an emotional element." I guess I'm a bit of a traditionalist. Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 1

You'd never know, but this is The Beehive, at Acadia State Park in Maine. For Photo Friday's challenge: mist. I used the Accented Edges filter in PhotoShop to add a little drama.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

-Carl Sandburg