Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Gruff is a part of Mary Oliver's tone in her recent poem, "Blueberries."


I’m living in a warm place now, where
you can purchase fresh blueberries all
year long. Labor free. From various
countries in South America. They’re
as sweet as any, and compared with the
berries I used to pick in the fields
outside Provincetown, they’re
enormous. But berries are berries. They
don’t speak any language I can’t
understand. Neither do I find ticks or
small spiders crawling among them. So,
generally speaking, I’m very satisfied.

There are limits, however. What they
don’t have is the field. The field they
belonged to and through the years I
began to feel I belonged to. Well,
there’s life, and then there’s later.
Maybe it’s myself that I miss. The
field, and the sparrow singing at the
edge of the woods. And the doe that one
morning came upon me unaware, all
tense and gorgeous. She stamped her hoof
as you would to any intruder. Then gave
me a long look, as if to say, Okay, you
stay in your patch, I’ll stay in mine.
Which is what we did. Try packing that
up, South America.

- Mary Oliver

(this poem appear in the recent issue of Orion.)
I just returned from visiting my getting-old mother in Florida, and last month M and I were in Cape Cod.  Florida is much different than Cape Cod.  Mary Oliver probably did not want to move south, away from Cape Cod.  But getting old trumps what we want, often.  We all wish her well in having to be away from where she lived for so long as a younger woman.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

dove, not

pigment, glue, charcoal/ paper

We call these little birds that skitter around below the bushes in our yards Juncos.  They never seem to quarrel.  They seem to wear hoods.  If I could name them, I'd call them monkbirds.

This little painting sold; I just found out today.  It is one that I might have liked to keep in our yard's home.

Monday, February 24, 2014


"In the Treetops, A Winter Gift"
by Guy Trebay

This two-page spread is in the middle of Sunday Review, in the middle of the Sunday New York Times (February 23 2014).
I'd been reading about the last day of the Sochi Olympics, El Chapo's arrest, Yanukovch's presidential residence, poop DNA collectors in Naples, an obit of James Cahill, whose books on Chinese art enlightened me, transgender soldiers, and then I turned the page to this spread:  WOW.

I like Guy Trebay's writing whenever I see it (usually about fashion, his writing often becomes a wide romp about culture), so deft and funny (e.g. about the American uniforms for the Olympics opening ceremony that they reminded him of bad Christmas sweaters, oh gosh yes).  Here he's writing about the Elms of Fifth Avenue, 2.5 miles of them, and amid the wonderful essay is the phrase "tabernacle of the air," glorious.  (Trebay cites Henry Ward Beecher for this phrase; however did he come across it!)

Thank you Mr. Trebay and the NY Times. I so love coming across news/ an essay and photo (by Craig Blankenhorn) not about us but about trees.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

winter mind

where we venture forth
oil/linen 30x40"
January 2014

I have taken this phrase--where we venture forth-- from a wonderful book, Hunger Mountain, by David Hinton, a long-time translator of Chinese poets and philosophers.  In this book, subtitled "A Field Guide to Mind and Landscape," Hinton merges his walks and thoughts with the thought and culture of classical Chinese. And he makes poems of his own:  assemblages with phrases from his translations, with pregnant spaces around the fluttering-like words.  It's a remarkable book.