Friday, October 31, 2014

rest in peace, Galway Kinnell


 One of my favorite poets died this week. Galway Kinnell. I was lucky enough to study with him, and, for a period of time, to call him a friend. He encouraged me to write seriously, to believe in poetry. I did, until I didn't.

Saint Francis And The Sow 

The bud 
stands for all things, 
even for those things that don't flower, 
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing; 
though sometimes it is necessary 
to reteach a thing its loveliness, 
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath
them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.
--Galway Kinnell 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

the blustery day






 All day the words Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day have been going through my head. Phase two of autumn is kicking in. The first phase is when you start to feel the edge--crisp air, russet leaves, the anticipation of heavy sweaters and crackling fires.


Then, bam! it's raw and windy, like today. Blustery. Flannel pajamas seem like a good idea. Lucky me, I got these gorgeous flowers from Bow Street, and they are at my side, warming me up.


I'll be making baked ziti and garlic bread tonight,
maybe baked apples,
a blustery day dinner.

Even the cats don't want the window open.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Provincetown, looking, painting




I took my son Matt to Provincetown last week. He likes off-season beaches
 and art, and P'town has an abundance of both.


I showed him my favorite galleries, gardens and houses, 
and he showed me things I'd never noticed,


like this gorgeous bit of sidewalk inlaid with iron and glass.
What's the story behind that?


There's a garden filled with sculptures I love to view through the wrought iron gate


but I never noticed the stunning stone wall
studded with geodes, minerals, marbles, glass orbs.





Provincetown has given me plenty of painting inspiration.
I'm feeling good about the switch from acrylics to oils
and these most recent pieces. Some clarity is emerging.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Autumn in (upstate) New York








A misty morning drive to Bovina for an egg sandwich takes me through this gentle upstate landscape. Rolling hills dotted with farmhouses, barns and the occasional Airstream, milk truck rolling down a country road…My crush on pink peonies and orange roses has given way to a deep love of russet, apple, pumpkin, the smell of woodsmoke, the sound of acorns dropping.


It's becoming an annual ritual for me to post this poem by Rilke. (2013, 2012)
The poem that gave me orchards in space.


                             Autumn

     The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,
     as if orchards were dying high in space.
     Each leaf falls as if it were motioning "no".

     And tonight the heavy earth is falling,
     away from all the other stars in the loneliness.

     We're all falling. This hand here is falling.
     And look at the other one ... It's in them all.

     And yet there is Someone, whose hands
     infinitely calm, hold up all this falling.

                               -Rainier Marie Rilke (translated by Robert Bly)



The best thing about blogging is the friends I've made, and I'm not going to call you virtual friends either. I love that New Zealand Amanda's posts about spring coincide with mine about fall, and that when I am shoveling snow she will be sharing her peonies. It truly is a world wide web, both infinitely large and comfortably small.

xo, Jen

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

advance, retreat



For someone who doesn't like to leave home, I've been doing so a lot. Friday, I made a quick trip with a full car, to Brooklyn. The laundromat near my son's apartment is also a pinball parlor. The city is a wonderland of the unique and eclectic, and I savor it until I reach the point where I am saturated.



Then home to cats and books 
 and glorious flowers from Bow Street. 




Monday, September 22, 2014

back to Provincetown











Four days of harbor, bay and ocean; sunrises and sunsets, fishing boats, cottages and art galleries. I took a painting workshop with Christie Scheele at the Provincetown Art Museum. Christie's paintings are stripped down, luminous landscapes. I've long admired her work and felt I could learn a lot from her, and I did. After painting steadily for a year, noodling (phaffing, Amanda?) around with different styles, I may be getting to a place of my own in my paintings. Will post more on this in the Orchards in Space blog…


Summer is truly winding down. I look forward to some autumn weekends in the country and another trip to Brooklyn. For once I am not dreading winter, am looking past my usual stacks of books (a/k/a safety net) and into burrowing into my studio and painting. I hope this time of transition is going well for you too.

xo,
Jen

More Provincetown posts:






Sunday, September 14, 2014

the roses of Kew

My favorite places at Kew Gardens were the rose gardens 
and the lily pond (saved for another day)

 I arrived at the gardens early and was the only person among the roses.
They made me crazy with happiness.

 They weren't tended to. Their entire life cycles were on view everywhere I looked.
I have no idea why, as other gardens were traditionally, immaculately snipped and shaped.
Of course I loved it this way.

 This was my favorite color.

 And now, of course, I want to grow roses.


 I have a couple of sweet and easy floribunda, 
but none of the extravagant colors, shapes, or fragrances.