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.

Friday, May 13, 2011

First Morning Rays

White-line relief, 9 x 7"

First morning rays
raise a mist in the forest,
cradle hickory's golden hands--
a straight line of touch.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Crow Story: A Tale From the Oak Grove

Evo, lithograph on gampi, 8 1/2 x 14 1/2"

The Warmth of the Light Sank Inward, and His Heart Dissolved, lithograph on gampi, 8 1/2 x 14 1/2"

The Last Flight of Crova, lithograph on gampi, 8 1/2 x 14 1/2"

Three of six lithographs from Crow Story. The characters in this fable are mostly crows and trees. The story was written when I was at George Mason University studying Native American cultures with Shepard Krech. Some of the ethnographic material comes from Tom Blackburn's December's Child. And, of course, very little of the ethnographic record of the Chumash would have survived without the lifelong efforts of John Peabody Harrington. Evo was an oak tree that lived along a path in San Roque where I used to walk Ariel when she was a baby in Santa Barbara.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Wind Sycamore

I am the wind
I am voice of the earth.

Where are my children
Where have they gone?

They bring not their warm hearts
To this place anymore.

Where is the dancing
Where is the laughter?

Where are the mirrors in eager faces
Where I found my true reflection?

Where are the sun-warmed faces
I knew so long ago?

Where is the song and chant of dreaming
The knowing dance of being?

Where are my children
Where have they gone?

I am the wind
Voice of the earth.

This poem is from CROW STORY: A Tale From the Oak Grove, a fable I wrote about the Chumash, a tribe of Native Americans living in Santa Barbara and Ventura. The Wind Sycamore was a place sacred to them. The letter-pressed book was illustrated with lithographs.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hard to Write Poems

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

Hard to write poems
when the lanky bugs
are posing.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Sound Come Around Blue (from the journal)

The rim of rose at the horizon behind dogwood
petals as white as at noon.
The moment comes once a year,
all the years come back to be,
again and again,
this one, this one moment. 4-24-11

Through the white honeysuckle blossoms,
the falling white petals of dogwood bring
the curtain down on early spring. 5-3-11

A sound come around blue--
fish crow over the winged
columbines. 5-3-11

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sespe Creek

I found this charcoal drawing of Sespe Creek in the same folder as my apple tree drawings. Two-year-old Ariel, five-year-old nephew Steve, and my dog, Oliver, and I hiked in about two miles. It was way back in the mountains above Santa Paula. What a place it was. A swimming hole surrounded by mountains. It was so quiet there, you could hear bees buzzing half a mile away. One time Steve found a snake. There always are snakes in paradise.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Soft Vine Charcoal (for Gary Brown)

Two ways to see
seems to me.
Take the mind eye and
knowingly caress
leaf angles and surfaces.
Move along the river of color.
Mind eye seeking texture,
strength, mass.

Once in a while,
all in a flash,
the heart eye moves out
in cosmic synapse,
and in this electron haze
knower and known are encompassed
in the fairy arms of being.

And it is being that is known.

Easy to draw
loved angles,
loved shapes.

Hard to draw
the glint in your own eye
when the mirror is your self.

This is another poem I wrote the first week of art school. This one was for Gary Brown, our legendary art professor who opened up all the windows, all the doors. In his drawing class we did etchings and learned about papermaking and we kept journals. I included this poem in POPPYROSE with a litho I don't like nearly as much as the charcoal drawing of my apple tree in Camarillo.