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.