Well the rain rain falls
all morning up on the roof
out of mind (mind) (mind)
You may remember that Claudia McGill and I did a collaboration with writing, and I said I would do some stitching over the final project to add another layer. After a delay with running out of the embroidery floss I was using and my generally slow pace of stitching, the results are above. I took Claudia’s words from her deconstructed poem and made a kind of haiku from them, and then cross-stitched most of it on the writing.
I really like the way the “wrong” side of cross-stitched makes mysterious patterns in an unknown graphic language, so that’s the side that shows up over the writing. But it looks nice on its own as well (as you can see, I used the back of a paper from an old sweater design for my original letter–no paper goes to waste in my artistic pursuits!) Here’s how it looked before I stitched it:
Nina and I are both overwhelmed with life at the moment, so we are again suspending our posts until we can actually make a regular creating time. But I will still be checking in when I can to see what everyone’s up to.
and eyes refuse sight.
can be posed,
nor answers given. Light is
erased. Dust and blood.
The news we see now is overwhelmed with US–our own politics are so chaotic and overwhelming that what is going on in the rest of the world seems almost to have disappeared. This Headline Haiku was done by me months ago, from what seems to have been a different lifetime of everyday concerns and headlines.
But people are still dying in, and fleeing from, Syria. And the world still seems paralyzed in response.
My two previously posted Headline Haikus about Syria are currently appearing in the exhibit “We the People: Political Art in an Age of Discord” at the Barrett Art Center, in Poughkeepsie, NY. All the work in the show is posted online here; Trump is definitely there, but not always front and center.
Out of sight
eyes and ears closing
out of mind
desperate lost abandoned
Is this will divine?
Politics is local, but we are connected in humanity and survival with all the peoples of the world. We should not forget that.
skywriting black against blue
clouds and trees dancing
Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above, gave me a chance to try an idea I’ve been thinking about for awhile. A few years ago I did a cross-stitch poem on paper, and I was intrigued by the pattern that appeared on the back. This seemed the perfect opportunity to see what would happen if I tried it over some watercolor collaged together.
I think I may have overdone it with the stitching, but I can always pull some out; the holes in the paper will make a subtle and interesting pattern too. I’ll look at it for awhile and think about it.
Here’s the poem side, with part of the haiku and some patterns (I wanted to try those out as well).
“Watch out strange kind people
Little Red Rooster is on the prowl”
–Howlin Wolf, interpreting Willie Dixon
This embroidered painting was inspired by a Mexican Carnival mask and the blues, and also in honor of the Year of the Rooster.
Red as a rooster. Red
as a heart that bleeds with
fire. Red as the rose
that blooms inside the heart’s desire.
Red as the anger that
is trapped inside the flame. Red
as the burning blood that
saturates the vein. Red red. Red.
The poem uses the red rooster as a starting point. I finally managed to do a quadrille properly: 44 words. The rhymes just happened.
Happy Draw-A-Bird Day!
on the road of souls
golden swan dreaming music
in between the stars
Many Native American tribes consider the Milky Way to be the pathway where souls travel to the spirit world. The Northern Cross, part of the constellation Cygnus, points towards the Milky Way.
Sue Vincent’s luminous and mysterious photo prompt this week gave me another reason to consider the stars.
Swans are symbols of transformation. They have been seen as forms of souls, messengers between worlds that accompany souls on their journey, or even shape-shifted angels. “Swan song” is not just a random expression–it comes from the belief that swans sing a beautiful song whenever someone dies.
circled by spirit
reflections of peacefulness
written as heartbeats, spoken
in smiles, awakening warmth
I keep returning to the seven circles of the seed of life symbol. It makes a beautiful mandala.
The oracle was, once again, brief.
the fertile song
of deep winter
A Hard Rain
has fallen shadowed
by endless endings, ghosts both
multiplied and lost
Yesterday Michael Kimmelman, in a feature article in the NY Times, noted: “Truth be told, no sane person wants to see these images….What’s happening in Aleppo is almost unbearable to look at….
Bana looks us straight in the eye and asks us to save her, please.
We have done nothing to help.
The very least we should do is look back.”
I’ve been working slowly on this embroidery, a companion to the first Syria headline haiku I did, because these images are hard to look at, hard to draw. The first piece, above and below, was done over a year ago, September 2015.
We can turn our eyes away, but that will not make Aleppo disappear.
the world is flat and old
and yet it reels
my brain throbs silver gold
just like dead air
it isn’t there
this heat grows ever cold
in pulsing swells
a taunting hell
an absence that won’t hold
Long ago and far away, Jane Dougherty posed her next-to-last poetry challenge, “Painful Silence”, with this evocative migrane-inspired image:
The end of September was right when Nina and I began our break and it took me several weeks to complete the embroidered collage. The repetition of stitching is very satisfying and a good antidote to agitation for me though. So it worked on many levels.
I did Jane’s final poetry challenge too; to be posted at some future date.
“We remembered our living days wrong.”
“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.”
Memory is a tricky thing. Ask two people about the same event, and you may end up thinking they were on different planets at the time. And it’s so easy to get caught in the past, replaying events over and over.
with remembered color
yet almost like that smile
Reading Annie Dillard (“The Abundance”–highly recommended) reminds me about the importance of paying attention to each present moment. The past, like the future, is always incomplete.
As is my stitched drip painting. I’m still in the middle or maybe only at the beginning. I’ll keep stitching until it feels like it’s time to stop I guess.
Try your own magnetic poem here.