Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Affinity of Matter for its Own Myth (from the journal)

It’s a long walk through
winter. Some days are
sunny. 12-3-11

Warm rain,
yellow bells,
squirrel’s tail through it all.
The moist, warm air wants
to be blue. 12-6-11

It’s a slow sound.
Slow rain,
touching, touching
all the moments. 12-7-11

“I thought it was always yours.”
The moment leaving the island,
the quiet people, the
trailing wake, the gray world
left behind in magic,
signed by the pointing hand. 12-10-11

Like all the years before,
the colored tree fills the
breathed out span of winter
with warm dancing sparkles. 12-14-11

The affinity of matter for its own myth—
a kinship carried in on a thought,
brought on by breath,
my breath. 12-14-11

Every now and then we pull away
from the moving leaves,
from the curve of limb,
from the absent sound of birds,
from all the things that are real
and cross an asphalt parking lot,
looking at a myriad of unsmiling strangers
to buy into the season of spending
in hopes the colorful packages
will bring back the sun. 12-15-11

One day
many boundaries, and then,
something will slip. Be
free, Trudy. 12-17-11

Surprising that anything in the woods
is green now.
The sound of a shovel
going through quartz,
schist, and clay. We leave the largest piece
of quartz on top—
a marker. 12-18-11

A bit of warmth,
the broken pieces of jade.
Winter light repairs all. 12-19-11

The world waits for snow,
for the magic of change,
for the softness of blended light
to fix a single point of time
in the timeless gray winter. 12-20-11

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Yellow Rose Rising (from the journal)

Tufted titmouse on the screen
looking for bugs.
Such big feet. 11-1-11

A beautiful journey
to the tall city,
a long river
to go by. 11-3-11

A golden afternoon
at the village blacksmith’s—
the black lizard whistle. 11-7-11

This maple is bare,
the earnestness of all the years
there to see. 11-9-11

The brown leaves
fall through my eyes
leaving their breath
on my breath. 11-9-11

Summer’s dry weight
moves in the blue sky,
dark golden leaves
not ready to let go. 11-12-11

It will be here when all
the other things are gone—
orange stars over hibiscus’ yellow leaves
hanging down,
one moment, in color,
breathed. 11-13-11

The blue wind sets
the orange stars twisting.
Some will spin free
before they are red. 11-13-11

Crab apple’s buds are set against
a warm gray sky. Wren, too,
her single voice. 11-14-11

Sieboldii’s green is gone.
Rose, dark rose, yellow rose rising. 11-15-11

A gray day
warmed by maple’s last yellow leaves.
The slow scrape of the old plastic rake. 11-20-11

Crab apple buds are set.
Carolina Wren announces winter’s silhouette. 11-21-11

Blue jay climbs crab apple branch
calling out the news—
the sun, the sun, the sun
is on his feet. 11-21-11

By my face, outside my window,
yellow honeysuckle
as yellow as any sun. 11-23-11

‘Tis the season
of leaf blowers,
of leaf mold,
of everything down,
but the blue sky
holding up. 11-21-11

Falling through the empty tees,
gray rain,
the sound. 11-29-11

A cat threads her way
around my teacup,
stream rising in the jade. 11-30-11

The light on my eyes
is as before—
all the years,
the spoken story,
the scintillating reflections remembered
as now, the sweet warmth,
sweet. 11-30-11

How everything is—
the empty baskets,
the old toys,
and the memories of space
folding around us. 12-1-11

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Umbrella

Relief, fired clay with glaze, 14 x 14 x 1"

This relief is a portrait of my daughter.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Territory We Share (from the journal)

What would be the one thing?
Beyond sitting?
Beyond waiting?
The air moves.
The trees touch back, wave hello, goodbye. 10-1-11

Withdrawing to the cathedral,
hickory leaves are orange,
honeysuckle berries are red,
maple gives parts of its leaves to wine.
All is measured in movement.
Can air move the light?
It does. 10-2-11

The territory we share—
the light, the leaves,
little spaces for breath,
for poems, for stretching the wings,
feathered and not. 10-2-11

Resting in the holly
a pair of migrating finches
draws in the sun,
a special kind of breath. 10-5-11

Not so bad
waiting with catbird
for the day to warm.
The robin shows himself,
red with life. 10-8-11

The first one,
the first yellow tree—
spicebush startles. 10-10-11

Little cricket with one antenna
what draws you to the tip of my pen?
Is it the flowing?
Or is it the memory of flowing shining like a river
having been brought forth or having been brought down
the shining river, the memory you can touch? 10-10-11

Pierced with summer’s long days,
sharon’s brown leaf lies transparent
on the rose flagstone. 10-12-11

A burst of rain.
Chipmunk keeps to his path
over the poet’s slipper. 10-13-11

In the shadowed wood,
the deeper shadows of two deer
stepping through. 10-15-11

Holding on
all the crab apple leaves
shiver in the wind. 10-15-11

Bladdernut leaves fade to pale cream—
a shower of light
in the dark morning. 10-16-11

How tall the oak tree is
with the sun
suddenly behind it. 10-17-11

The long sunny afternoon.
The young robin and I
regard each other. Sitting.
Breathing. 10-18-11

The world smells
of life easing away.
The soft rain comes again. 10-18-11

At this moment
all the squirrels run up the oaks.
No. The Siamese. 10-23-11

Crab apple leaves didn’t change this year.
The sky took them away
without a turn. 10-24-11

The sky is grayer
than the trees are yellow.
The thin cloud moves in between. 10-27-11

In the dark,
in the rain,
hickory’s gold is gold,
enough for all. 10-29-11

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Lithograph, 16 x 20"

This print is from the series, "Thoughtprints and Footprints: California"

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Eye of the Iridescent Fly

Lithograph on gampi, 8 x 6"

The words,
My words,
are only the symbols,
tiny reflections of you
in the eye of the
iridescent fly.

The symbols,
My symbols
are the tools of my trade
to speak with the voice
of the many-tongued hydra;

And when these symbols
come off my eyes and

Smile. It is not you
that you are seeing.

You, who have come
across the dust

with me--

A universe of beauty.


Poem and lithograph from POPPYROSE.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Raphael Soyer

Bronze relief, 9 x 9 x 1"

Raphael Soyer spent some time in 1983 as an artist-in-residence at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I met him when he came to visit Steven Cortright's lithography class. I showed him a portfolio of my prints and some photographs of my sculptures. We corresponded for a while before he died. The portrait was done using techniques of both Egyptian or hollow relief and bas relief.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Something the Air Touched

White-line relief, 7 x 5 1/2"

Something the air touched
made it soft, soft enough
to move the turning sassafras.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Rain Made a Galaxy (from the journal)

From the poke to the honeysuckle,
Carolina wren warns the others—
the poet has taken up her pen. 9-5-11

In the light
catbird speaks,
makes it all real. 9-13-11

I might be a flower.
The color is right.
Hummingbird holds me in her eye. 9-17-11

In this place
where we are in thought,
sometimes I start a poem
and then someone finishes it. 9-17-11

The rain made a galaxy
out of funnel spider’s
widening web. 9-24-11

The sound that comes
from mourning dove—
that sound—
folds back time,
opens space. 9-27-11

From the east—
moving air and more—
change. 9-29-11

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Poppyrose (the frontispiece)

Lithograph on gampi, 8 x 6"

My recollection is that these were plants I brought to Reston when we moved here from California. The prints for POPPYROSE were printed on my handmade sheets of gampi. I learned Japanese papermaking from Sukey Hughes at an extension course through UCSB. The gampi fibers were soaked, cooked, cleaned, and beaten with a wooden mallet. When I teach kids to make Japanese papers, I always tell them the most important thing is to listen. Do they listen? The one moment of listening is usually followed by many giggles.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gaviota of the Mind

Lithograph, hand-colored, 15 x 11"

From the series of fourteen lithographs, "Thoughtprints and Footprints: California"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Memory

Lithograph with chine colle, 5 1/2 x 7, "Lenny"

Time reflects
into absence
our forever moments,

I met Leonard Taylor's widow and two young daughters at the dedication of the September 11 Memorial at Freedom Grove in Reston, Virginia in May 2002. Taylor and Norma Cruz Kahn, two Reston residents, were on the airplane that hit the Pentagon.

Lenny sometimes rode his bike to work in Arlington.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11 Memorial, Freedom Grove, Reston

Bronze relief on Shenandoah boulder, 8 x 11"

Two Reston residents were on American Airlines Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon, Leonard Taylor and Norma Cruz Kahn. On October 6 Freedom Grove was planted near Brown's Chapel by the community of Reston as a memorial to all those lost on September 11, 2001. The bronze was commissioned by Reston Association and it was dedicated in May 2002.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Barefoot up Sycamore Creek

Lithograph, 12 x 15"

Barefoot up Sycamore Creek,
with the kids,
in the late summer,
unconcerned with snakes.

This print is from the series "Thoughtprints and Footprints: California."

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Old Footsteps (from the journal)

The ant on the journal runs,
looks for herself. The pages
smell familiar, the old footsteps. 8-7-11

Like a slow snow,
the abandoned skins of spiders
float down, catch on our toes.
Somewhere the new skins harden.
Summer ripens. 8-10-11

Under the black umbrella
counting hummingbirds,
swelling poke berries,
the single sounds of rain. 8-13-11

Weighted by last night's
rain, the woods lean heavily
over cricket's many voices. 8-19-11

Almost half a moon,
a mourning cloak,
and a blue dragonfly,
repeating. 8-22-11

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nazca Spinner

Fired clay with glazes, 15 x 1"

The surface designs are from a book of Peruvian hats; the colors are not traditional.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Always at the Right of Red

Lithograph, hand-colored with watercolor, 5 1/2 x 7"

at the right of red
dream light

Years ago at the UCSB College of Creative Studies, my litho professor gave my stone to another student to use before I had printed my image. My image was lost. This is the fourth attempt to recreate that self-portrait. I decided to try again using this poem that I like very much.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Grandmother and Child

Fired clay with sgraffito, 15 x 1"

This is a portrait of an old friend with one of her twin granddaughters.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011


White-line relief, 7 x 9"

walking in on
orange leaves,
beauty pauses
with a glance
that holds me
like a lens.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rose of Sharon (from the journal)

The dark silhouette
in the crab apple anchors the morning.
Catbird listening. 6-22-11

A wall of pink--
dusty for the dusty
bees. 6-25-11

The black and white dragonfly
is very dragonlike on my shoulder,
on my white blouse. 6-29-11

From all sides
the cicadas
box our ears. 7-13-11

Through cicadas' scattered
and broken calls comes
the smooth blue voice
of one mourning dove. 7-18-11

A noise in the woods.
Later from the green wall,
three red deer emerge
unafraid of the old poet
writing in her red journal. 7-24-11

Summer light comes lower now
through yellow wood poppies,
across sassafras' horizontal hands,
spilling sideways over myrtle's dropped seeds,
touching down into an August that comes on now
even as it rolls away. 7-25-11

The air moves easily again,
not burdened with heat or water.
We breathe.
Cicadas breathe.
Fish crow breathes.
The squirrel breathes,
munches on ripe crab apples. 7-26-11

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Snowbirds and Bedstraw

Lithograph, hand-colored with watercolor and prismacolor, 5 x 5"

Illustration from MEADOW MINE.

The first time I saw snowbirds here was the year the lamb's quarters grew 10 feet tall and produced buckets of seed. The birds stayed all winter and have returned every year since. We let the grass grow the year after that and for two years had a meadow.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

At Dawn

At dawn
the sky the color of mimosa blossoms.
Between the green with long legs
two soft deer barely brown
move along the fence
watching as I light the kiln.

This is a summer poem from an old poetry manuscript, DANCING THE TWO-STEP IN THE CRACKLE OF DAWN. Many of the poems were illustrated with sumi-e brush paintings, this one was not.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mourning Dove

White-line relief, 5 1/2 x 7"

In the snow-covered dogwood
mourning dove sits alone
believing she is two

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Poplar's Song

This is where I go
This is where I come from.

I reach with arms given long ago.
I reach with arms brought out of myself.

I breathe the light of today.
I breathe the light of yesterday.

The fires in my leaves are me
The fires in my leaves are my children
The fires in my leaves are my fathers.

The air moves around me
The air moves into me
I am the air.

All my strength, all my sinews
Bind me to the water of the earth.

The earth gives me water
The sky gives me air
The sun fires my leaves.

The earth is home to my dream
The dream is the song of my life.

This is where I go
This is where I come from.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

'Possum and Poke Berries

Lithograph, hand-colored with watercolor and prismacolor, 5 x 5"

Illustration from MEADOW MINE.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Relief, 21 x 12"

The first time I saw Egyptian relief, or hollow relief, was at a museum in LA. There was a small carving of a dog by a master Egyptian sculptor. The ancient piece looked very modern to me and I was enchanted by it. I began using techniques of Egyptian relief and eventually incorporated techniques of bas relief in the same pieces. I met Michael at St. Stephens in DC. He was a chef for CCNV. I did several portraits of him and this is the only one that survives.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Girl in the Sun

Handmade paper collage with silver tea chest paper, 5 x 8"

This image was used as an illustration in a book of poetry I published under the imprint, Librado Press. The fibers used are gampi, mitsumata with a wild sedge, and Morea iris leaves.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Painting the Red Dragon

Lithograph, 5 x 5"

This is one of my students painting a block for a white-line woodcut.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

With Catbird's Song (from the journal)

Redbird in the sharon,
redbird in the juniper,
redbird on the patio close enough
to see the sky’s blue reflection
on his iridescent feathers.
If you could touch him,
your fingers would come away blue. 5-26-11

The black crow overhead
makes a wave in the air so deep,
it touches my forehead. 6-1-11

On the low branch
the first crab apples redden,
grace white butterfly’s path. 6-2-11

Swallowtail is heavier than himself today.
Honeysuckle holds him up.
Yellow on yellow. 6-4-11

Small enough to be confused with wren,
baby redbird sits in the green holly,
counts the orange cats, waits
for her colors to come in. 6-7-11

On the grassy path
laid carefully on a napkin,
summer’s offering—
a dead chipmunk. 6-17-11

With catbird’s song for an umbrella,
I sit in the rain.
All the lovely sounds. 6-19-11

Sunday, June 26, 2011

And I Will Dance

Sacrifice a whole people

The ones who loved you most
Who danced for your name.

For the sanctity of human consciousness.

Through the realization of their pain to give us
Awareness of the whole.

So we can walk in the
Body of God

Through all ages,
Past and future.

To be aware of all who came and went
To hold them with us here and now.

Our sacrifice: to see through their eyes
As well as our own.

To see the whole with the prism vision of
All the souls that have bound together for
This dance.

This poem was included in POPPYROSE. Later on I made a relief portrait of Carl Freedman to go with the poem. That was my first effort to put text into a sculpture.

Carl Freedman, bronze relief, 12 x 12 x 1"

Carl Freedman, bronze relief detail

Friday, June 24, 2011

God and My Friends

Lithograph on gampi, 15 x 10"

This lithograph, printed off Bavarian limestone, was used as an illustration for AFTERWORDS, a book of poetry I put together with Charles Curtis Blackwell. I met Charles at the Larry Neal Writers' Conference and he suggested we do a book with both white and African-American poets. We had two white poets, Kendra Usack and me and one African-American poet--Charles. We spent an evening at DC Space listening to 100 Black Poets and a few agreed to work on the project with us--Clynthia Burton Trueitt, Kiplyn Primus, and Wanda Winbush. I made 200 handmade paper covers with cattails and mitsumata and sewed the books up with a five-hole Japanese binding.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In May, the Forever Time

Sumi-e, from the journal

In May,
the forever time--
long green afternoons,
birds speaking
until bedtime.
The sun tarries,
life may not be
so real
later on.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Loren Eiseley 1907-1977

Bronze relief, 14 x 16.5 x 2"

Thought unfolds
through the myriad forms--
a surfeit of love,

Bronze relief, details

Loren Eiseley is my favorite writer. The first time I read about him was in ZYGON: The Journal of Religion and Science. Eiseley was considered by many to be a religious scientist. He wrote extensively about evolution, his first book THE IMMENSE JOURNEY. My favorite collection of his essays is THE STAR THROWER.

Eiseley also wrote poetry about the natural world--NOTES OF AN ALCHEMIST, ANOTHER KIND OF AUTUMN, THE INNOCENT ASSASSINS and ALL THE NIGHT WINGS. I wrote several poems about Eiseley as I was rereading all of his essays recently. The bronze relief was done to go with one of the poems.

If you look in the negative space between the sunflowers and Flodman's thistle, you will see a fox. The fox was a personal symbol for Eiseley.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Then in the Old Time

Sumi-e, from the journal

Then in the old time
I will remember
red bird
talking to himself

about worlds
he creates
but can never

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Lithograph, hand-colored with watercolor, 5 x 5"

This illustration is from MEADOW MINE, a children's picture book manuscript. I noticed this morning that the deer had overlooked three thimbleweed blossoms in my woodland garden. There are two deer trails that go through my yard. I lived here ten years before I saw a deer in the yard. Now they come in herds.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In His Mind

Lithograph, 9 x 7"

In his mind
the flowing tree
is still flowing

I had been thinking about Mary Powers, the printmaker Paul Muldoon wrote about in his poem, Incantata. Diagnosed with breast cancer, she refused medical intervention and died. I wrote the poem one morning about the locust tree outside my bedroom window and as I dated the poem in my journal, realized that it was Mary's birthday. I decided to do an image to go along with the poem and went downstairs and grained a stone.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

First Fruits

Lithograph hand-colored with Prismacolor, 7 x 9"

First Fruits

Goldfinch visits Lactuca.

Summer folds down around
the dark yellow body moving south
one seed at a time.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Castles of Metaphor


The leaves come in spring

They take up space.
They create space.

Time to let the weeds grow--
See who they become.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Becoming Nature

From BECOMING NATURE: On Keeping a Nature Journal and Some Thoughts on How to Put Ourselves Back into the World. This artist's book of essays, poems and photographs was exhibited at the Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Festival Invitational at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

All the forms carbon achieves with itself and the elements
are all great improvisations
like running full speed down a rocky Alp
feet finding footfalls,
maybe not with complete consciousness,
but with graceful survival--
turning here,
stepping there
running full speed
grabbing nitrogen, hydrogen
always remembering the way, the path
building memories,

becoming memories.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

In the Rain

Sumi-e, from the journal

In the rain
she finds it easily.
Grace bends leaves, branches
with rain
one drop at a time.

her true destiny.

Starweed holding up the mist.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fish Crow in the Dogwood (from the Journal)

Fish crow in the dogwood
hops down the branches
to baby chickadees in the dogwood,
the bird as heavy as his call. 5-8-11

Listening through the locust lace overhead
to the sound of moving clouds moving.
A single woodpecker's single voice. 5-10-11

Locust petals on the path--
a flat white net dropped to bind
eye and mind. 5-16-11

On the back of his wings the white feathers
lift turkey buzzard straight across the road.
The young one remains by the deer,
the remains. 5-21-11

Resting on the hot asphalt, he stops cars.
Snapping turtle blinks both eyes,
resumes his journey when he is ready. 5-23-11

Saturday, May 14, 2011

African Dawn

Handmade paper collage, 4 3/4 x 5 1/4"

I published several books of poetry that were illustrated with handmade paper collages. In this illustration an African woman is washing her hair in the river of dawn. The areas that look blue are actually silver tea chest paper. The papers are made from a native papyrus that grew in my mother-in-law's front patio in Camarillo, wild rye and wild oats from empty fields in Camarillo, and cattails collected along the back road to Herndon that were mixed with Japanese mitsumata.