Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

Greeting to Spring (Not Without Trepidation)

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

Well, it’s sleeting, and snow is on the way. But it IS the first day of spring. So, a poem by Robert Lax, and a painting.

Over the back of the Florida basker,
over the froth of the Firth of Forth,
Up from Tahiti and Madagascar,
Lo, the sun walks north.

The first bright day makes sing the slackers
While leaves explode like firecrackers,
The duck flies forth to greet the spring
And sweetly municipal pigeons sing.

Where the duck quacks, where the bird sings,
We will speak of past things.

Come out with your marbles, come out with your Croup,
The grass is as green as a Girl Scout troop;
In the Mall the stone acoustics stand
Like a listening ear for the Goldman band.

At an outside table, where the sun’s bright glare is,
We will speak of darkened Paris.

Meanwhile, like attendants who hasten the hoofs
Of the ponies who trot in the shadow of roofs,
The sun, in his running, will hasten the plan
Of plants and fishes, beast and man.

We’ll turn our eyes to the sogging ground
And guess if the earth is cracked or round.

Over the plans of the parties at strife,
Over the planes in the waiting north,
Over the average man and his wife,
Lo, the sun walks forth!

—Robert Lax

Lynn & Donald 1976

The Maple Tree

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Although it stills feels as hot and muggy as midsummer here in Washington, DC, it is actually the first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere. So, a painting and a poem in celebration. The leaves are changing color; we await those crisp cool blue-sky days. And wait… Happy Autumn, everyone.

The Maple with its tassell flowers of green
That turns to red, a stag horn shapèd seed
Just spreading out its scallopped leaves is seen,
Of yellowish hue yet beautifully green.
Bark ribb’d like corderoy in seamy screed
That farther up the stem is smoother seen,
Where the white hemlock with white umbel flowers
Up each spread stoven to the branches towers
And mossy round the stoven spread dark green
And blotched leaved orchis and the blue-bell flowers—
Thickly they grow and neath the leaves are seen.
I love to see them gemm’d with morning hours.
I love the lone green places where they be
And the sweet clothing of the Maple tree.

—John Clare 1793-1864


Loveliest of Trees

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

I am experimenting with the eBay auction as a venue for my paintings, and I am beginning with “Cherry Blossoms,” a seasonally appropriate work. It begins tonight and ends April 2nd. (You can find it here.) And with this painting I include my favorite cherry blossom poem, from A. E. Housman’s A Shropshire Lad.


Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

–A.E. Housman

Turning from chilly winter ways

Monday, March 20th, 2017

For the first day of spring, a poem by Linda Pastan, and a painting.



Just as we lose hope
she ambles in,
a late guest
dragging her hem
of wildflowers,
her torn
veil of mist,
of light rain,
her dandelion
in our ears;
and we forgive her,
turning from
chilly winter
we throw off
our faithful
and open
our arms.

—Linda Pastan


Lynn & Donald

Take Love for Granted

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

A painting and a poem for this Day of Love. As the poet says, Wake it every day… Happy Valentines Day, everyone.


Assume it’s in the kitchen,
under the couch, high
in the pine tree out back,
behind the paint cans
in the garage. Don’t try
proving your love
is bigger than the Grand
Canyon, the Milky Way,
the urban sprawl of L.A.
Take it for granted. Take it
out with the garbage. Bring
it in with the takeout. Take
it for a walk with the dog.
Wake it every day, say,
“Good morning.” Then
make the coffee. Warm
the cups. Don’t expect much
of the day. Be glad when
you make it back to bed.
Be glad he threw out that
box of old hats. Be glad
she leaves her shoes
in the hall. Snow will
come. Spring will show up.
Summer will be humid.
The leaves will fall
in the fall. That’s more
than you need. We can
love anybody, even
everybody. But you
can love the silence,
sighing and saying to
yourself, “That’s her.”
“That’s him.” Then to
each other, “I know!
Let’s go out for breakfast!”

—Jack Ridl



Ring Out, Wild Bells

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

Wishing everyone a joyous, loving, and peaceful season. And, in that spirit, here is a poem by Tennyson for Christmas Day.


Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, Ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, Ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of Rich and poor,
Ring in Redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, Ring out my mournful Rhymes,
But Ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and Right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkenss of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson











To A Butterfly

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Summer officially came to an end at 10:21 Eastern Daylight Time this morning. Welcome Autumn with a poem by William Wordsworth.


I’ve watched you now a full half-hour,
Self-poised upon that yellow flower;
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless!—not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again !

This plot of orchard-ground is ours;
My trees they are, my Sister’s flowers;
Here rest your wing when they are weary;
Here lodge as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us on the bough!
We’ll talk of sunshine and of song,
And summer days, when we were young;
Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.

—William Wordsworth

Beach Houses, Big Sky

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Although it’s still summer, the first of September feels like a turning of the year, a return to school and schedules, and a farewell to cicadas and the least possible clothing. In parting I celebrate the day with a watercolor of Duck, NC, where the family just spent an idyllic week, and, attesting to the season’s ambivalence, a poem by A.E. Housman.


XXXIX (from Last Poems)

When summer’s end is nighing
And skies at evening cloud,
I muse on change and fortune
And all the feats I vowed
When I was young and proud.

The weathercock at sunset
Would lose the slanted ray,
And I would climb the beacon
That looked to Wales away
And saw the last of day.

From hill and cloud and heaven
The hues of evening died;
Night welled through lane and hollow
And hushed the countryside,
But I had youth and pride.

And I with earth and nightfall
In converse high would stand,
Late, till the west was ashen
And darkness hard at hand,
And the eye lost the land.

The year might age, and cloudy
The lessening day might close,
But air of other summers
Breathed from beyond the snows,
And I had hope of those.

They came and were and are not
And come no more anew;
And all the years and seasons
That ever can ensue
Must now be worse and few.

So here’s an end of roaming
On eves when autumn nighs:
The ear too fondly listens
For summer’s parting sighs,
And then the heart replies.

—A.E. Housman



Julep Season

Monday, August 1st, 2016

A poem by Jack Peachum in celebration of a summer classic. Better stock up, as we head further into this election season. Here’s a recipe from Epicurious that includes as an ingredient a homemade mint syrup which can be used in other drinks as well.


But, surely, the tree in Eden was a giant mint plant,
promising knowledge profane and sacred,
the doorways of Eternity opening—
summer air pushes heavy around the house,
ice clicks in the teeth,
the mixture’s smell invites you in
to where the mint lies on the tongue.
And in the distance,
bourbon-taste and sugar against the palette
sweet as remembered Sunday mornings.

— Jack Peachum



Journey’s End

Friday, July 1st, 2016

For the first of July, a painting and a poem.


In western lands beneath the Sun
The flowers may rise in Spring,
The trees may bud, the waters run,
The merry finches sing.
Or there may be ‘tis cloudless night,
And swaying branches bear
The Elven-stars as jewels white
Amid their branching hair.

Though here at journey’s end I lie
In darkness buried deep,
Beyond all towers strong and high,
Beyond all mountains steep,
Above all shadows rides the Sun
And Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
Nor bid the Stars farewell.

—J R R Tolkien