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.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


My first book of poems and paintings will debut on May 1, 2010 at the Georgia Forest Watch Benefit: Wild & Woolly Native Plant Sale and Book Festival in Rabun County, Georgia.

This is a limited edition of 50 signed and numbered copies, the first ten including an original watercolor.

Saddle stitched
26 pages
13 poems
13 paintings
8.5"h. x 5.5"w.

Price:  #1-#10 with original watercolor - $35.00 (plus $2.50 shipping)
           #11-#50 - $15.00 (plus $2.50 shipping)

These poems and paintings explore our relationship to nature and the nature of our place in it. Not just any relationship, not just any place, but rooted here along the banks of Warwoman Creek in the North Georgia Mountains where I am trying, with all my heart, to come home to. It's all a great river, and my hope is to meet you there.

These poems and paintings offer something special - bringing together for the ear, the eye, and the imagination - the breaching of morning light, the call of the red-tailed hawk, and the dreams that weave through our vision. It's all a great river. I'll meet you there.

Poems and paintings share something important - a concentrated form of paying attention - paying attention to what is! 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 form pooling echoes of the still and eternal present. Paintings and poems, two sides of one bright coin, tumbling in a great river. I'll meet you there

'Take Me to the River: Poems & Paintings for Coming Home' will be available for purchase beginning May 1, 2010.  To purchase a copy join me May 1st, at the Georgia Forest Watch Wild & Woolly Native Plant Sale and Book Festival in Rabun County, Georgia,  or e-mail me beginning May 1st at to reserve your copy at

Monday, April 5, 2010


" might be walking in the forest and come across a patch of daffodils in bloom. This, she said, would likely mark an old homestead, where a woman, seeking to brighten her family's life, would have planted some bulbs. Since daffodils can live 100 years, they could well be the only visible reminder that someone once lived there."  This quote from Marie Mellinger, a local friend wrote me on reading my poem "Will You Be The One?" and being reminded of one of Marie's springtime newspaper columns from back in the late 1980's.

Yes, the daffodils have bloomed. Here along the northern foot of Rainy Mountain they only bloomed a few days ago. Let me say it again because it sounds so nice - the daffodils have bloomed! - such good mouth fun to say!

It has been a long, cold winter this year here in the Southern Appalachians. During this winter a poem I wrote in September,"What's Needed," unexpectedly became prophetic and a daily mantra for me:


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.

This winter there was almost nothing foreseen, and a lot of not knowing. The poem stayed with me all winter as a kind of hope.

Wise friends counseled me to go slow, to take in the winter, and there to listen and let germinate. So the paintings and the poems grew slowly, uncertainly, and often not at all. Their shapes shifted from day to day, as if drifting in a cold mountain mist. But nothing was foreseen. It was a long winter.

On those cold days, somber winter colors drew my gaze deeper and deeper into the greyed landscape to catch only the ephemeral scent of some richer color. Hiding beneath the mauves I began to see, or only imagined, the purples, and sunk beneath the ruddy ochres the yellows, and beneath the burnt siennas the reds. These were almost just a sliver of memory, and perhaps only an imaginative hope of re-conjuring of them.

The paintings and poems came slowly like that too. At times I wondered, in a kind of sadness, if there would ever be any more. But there were. If I had only payed more attention to the springs up on the mountain, which continued all winter to bubble up from old root ways and make wandering passages through the rimes of ice. Then I would have known they would come:

"Winter Wall," oil on paper:

"Candlemas" oil on paper:

"Wall Stead - in Heorot," 2010, oil on paper:

And then, curiously, near the end of winter, just as bright green shoots of daffodils broke ground, old left off with paintings, flush with summer colors, caught my eye with renewed promise:

"Summer Mountain,: 2007-2010, oil on wood panel
53 1/2"h. x 75"w. x 1 3/4" d.:

"St. Molin's Well," 2007-2010, oil on wood panel,
40"h, x 40"w. x 1 3/4" d.:

And then the poems unlocked themselves:


Imagine a garden made
not grown. Stakes first
driven into the ground
should do for roots.

Then lattice strips
and papery leaves
stapled to the fret of this
painted green in advance.

No need of water or time.
Braces added later
will hold up the higher fruit -
tennis balls on strings
might do.


Imagine a life made
not grown. Ideas first
driven into dreams
should do first for principles.

Then a geomancy
of facts and figures,
nailed to cross timbers
of thoughts, indexed and sorted
by a thesaurus of death.

No need of spirit or heart.
Theologies added later
will prop up desire -
dogmas and litanies
in ledgers might do.

        (a variation on some last lines by W.S. Merwin)

My hands
greasy with paint
he asked

how can you ever
be sure what you paint
is any good
at all.

I am old
and grimy with the oil
and rags and bones
of my heart.
I say
you can't. You die
without ever knowing
if anything was
any good
at all.

If you
have to be sure
don't paint
I say
wiping my hands
on an old rag
of a dream.


Galileo did in Padua find
the laws of falling bodies
dropping lead weights, not birds or dreams.

But as he should have known
all things issue from their source
the sun: each proton

and person descends along
its own particular and precise
frequency. Singing

each falls into matter
with its own signature
still echoing. And here

just here
this unerring lightness
of being arises.


This wild nettle
that is Creation

My touch and words
pinch at the knot there
that is knowing
and not knowing.


This storm
this rock
this leaf

torn loose
to wander and fall
could be any one's life.

This wilderness
enfolding each simplicity
might comprehend
such a life


It carries a gift
and when they wake
they wake into it -

those who live by dreams
they who live by voices
we may never hear.

This house
not made by hands
is invisible.

THINGS TO SAY (while there's still time)
                               - for Lynn

I love you.
The dogwood just opened.
Spring remembers for us.
This war can still end
and there can be peace.
Wild violets grace the yard.
The cold tonight will seep to the root.
That 'yes' and 'amen' mean the same thing.

And then, on a bright still day, the forest all grey and standing in an ancient chorus around this clearing, there were "Daffodils," their new brightness still clinging to the frets of somber winter tones, a monoprint, oil on paper, 30"h. x 22"w.: