Sunday, March 29, 2015


2073. 11 x 10. Watercolor and ink on paper.

Appalachian Spring, conducted by Leonard Slatkin. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

poetry and Mary Oliver

I have always loved poetry.

Jump rope rhymes of childhood still spring to my mind at opportune (and inopportune) moments.

Say, say, oh playmate, I can not play with you...

Memorization assignments from elementary school stir around inside me and pop out of my mouth.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things..."
from "The Walrus and the Carpenter" by Lewis Carroll

College scrutiny did not dim my love of poetry, in fact, just added to my internal arsenal.

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies...
from "She Walks in Beauty" by Lord Byron

My appreciation of poetry has continued as I have aged. These days my attention is on the poetry of Mary Oliver. Her contemplation and introspection and artfully crafted poems make my breathing slow and invite me to read aloud her words again and again. Like this poem, "Wild Geese." I hope you will read it aloud. Again and again, too. Like me.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

I hope you will have about an hour to listen to Krista Tippett's interview with Mary Oliver (from February 7, 2015) on the radio program "On Being." Listen here.

Canada Goose, photograph Katherine van Schoonhoven at Ridgefield NWR

Sunday, March 1, 2015

breaking the shell

Pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding
Khalil Gibran