Reflections and notes on the relationship of art to nature and of nature to art from along Warwoman Creek, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Katuah Province of Turtle Island, where the light, the dark, the seasons, the time of deep past, deep present and deep future all mix in alchemal mists to reveal and hide and transform these slopes, shaded coves, bright rivers, deep forests and me, and together sustain me and my art.

Monday, February 15, 2010


This year, as the year and I and the dim sun turned, I made a book of poems and paintings; small enough to fit in the hand and large enough to share - ten poems, some new and some a little older, and eleven new watercolor paintings created to converse with the poems - a thin keen clean volume.

I think a kind of river runs through it.

As I could only manage an edition of 25 copies printed on my aging, mean tempered, and perversely quarrelsome HP ink jet printer, here are some selections.

As you look through this selection I invite you to ponder the following possibility:

Paintings and poems share something important -
a concentrated form of paying attention -
paying attention to what IS!
And what is, is both moving and still.

Paintings are still and yet move in our minds,
thoughts and feelings.

Poems are always moving in our minds,
our thoughts, our feelings,
and yet they are always forming pooling echoes
of the still and eternal present.

Paintings and poems - two sides of one coin,
and a river runs through it.


with lighted fingers
stitches a delicate thread
an amber line of ridge against the night

- then begins
to hem
the greening march of trees
down along the still dark creek

- and begins
to mend
out of what might have been
this day together

- once again
such prescient

- surely sewn
we together
out of wonder
this world.


We are always dreaming,
the good life, the bad life,
the life not lived.

In our ceremonies
we mark our bodies
with the signs of our dreams:
flames and crosses and circles.

Wearing our dream marks
we carry our whole lives
into the country of our days.

We must do this - keep it up,
this dreaming into our waking country,
keep it going, keep it safe,
even into the desert of our selves.


Our memory of it,
like Half-moon River Marsh
in late summer or early fall,
a sweetened breeze
coming off the sea

its light a silvering of the past,
the tide of it
washing in and then back
again. That day

down on the sunlit dock,
the children singing.

Those times - more than enough
to burst the heart open.

Too much of it to hold now,
yet too little of it to ever keep.


We are all vagabonds
on this earth, wanderers
with hungry hearts

looking for a home
we never had.

At night we gather
to distant fires
of scavenged wood and brush

stir the ashes there
and seek answers in the stars.

In ceremony
we mark our faces
with our dream of want -

flames and crosses and circles.

And we carry this into all our days
even into the desert of our lives

dreaming into each new country
our home again.


What's needed
is water
and dark

moving to a time
as slow as roots

in a well

where silvered fish

in a dream
of knowing

not caught
but foreseen.

-for Bill McLarney

A river runs through this
Blacksnake sliding under Jewelweed
flushing Robin surprising Blue Jay
screeching over mirror striding Water Spider
reflecting wheeling Red Tailed Hawk calling:
where are you where are you to Lizard
scrambling across old barn wood parched in the sun
gliding over Otter slipping from rock into water
flashing by Golden Shiner scurrying toward Sculpin
nuzzling mud beneath silver racing Gilt Darter
darting past Bloodroot stemming into whitened flower
from the moss blanketed bank shouldering
into the stream as rainbowing Kingfisher
alights and makes the heart stop
and the river run through it.

A river runs through this
a poem where I am swimming around you
composing dreams about rivers
to all of you swimming about me
who are dreaming poems about yourselves
and I am coming to a place and don’t have the words
and someone else tells me the next one
and so it goes, generous,
the swimming and the dreaming and the telling
and the river runs through it

you and me,
this river runs through us.

SPIRIT SALSA - for Lynn:

Come and dance
you and me
come and go

around and back
and come again
all the patterns flying

there is no you
there is no I

and we two are
but a fold in time.


and dance between
all the patterns making
and unmaking

you and me now

step again
with me now
into this always


and then just there
and then
where it calls us back

into the circle
where letting go
is holding on

to where
the meaning always is
moving on

to a desire
that brings to life
and the dance between

you and me
always making
come and go.

My love!
Come and dance with me!


This stream
is right here somewhere where I am ten
and running naked under the old oaks
along Trinity River.

And this one
flows in my blood
with a generosity I can
in no way account for now.

And this one
like a breath is slow
and long, smooth and deep,
even and balanced by that other,
the heart still flung open.


Reach out
beyond yourself so far
you have to let go
of the shore.

Gather in what happens here.

Then pull back
against the undertow.
Sit on the beach
and examine your hands.

Most days
you will only be left
with flecks of mica broken
pieces of shell, the sands
of rock and time.

But sometimes
you will be left with fiery bits
of starlight.

These are yours.

So enter a river,
a poem, a church, a conversation
anywhere. Swim around
listen for the resonance
in the waves, for the motion
in the current.

Let each filament of river
weave into your breath.

Then say what happens here.
Know that we all are listening.

A river, a poem, a church,
a conversation, even a breath
it’s all a great river. I’ll meet you there.