Friday, February 26, 2010

Never-ending Snow

My yard. Today. The snow just keeps coming, transforming the trees into something magical, dreamlike. The sleepyhead pines and cedars bow their heavy heads. Like a visitation, a hawk swoops overhead to land in a nearby tree, shaking down clots of snow. Then perfectly still, he/she watches me back.

From "Silent Snow, Secret Snow," a short story by Conrad Aiken:

The hiss was now becoming a roar -- the whole world was a vast moving screen of snow -- but even now it said peace, it said remoteness, it said cold, it said sleep.

Conrad Aiken (1889-1973)

Click on image to enlarge.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Anemone Eyes

Listening to the mix of sleet and rain and snow coming down, I turn away from the ping and drip to look in the eyes of these splashy anemones. On a recent wintry day, a friend and I visited the light-filled greenhouses of Battenfeld's Anemone Farm in Red Hook, New York. It's a great place to go with a camera, in search of color and light. (What were Goethe's legendary last words? Supposedly "More light!" Is that true? Even if not, they're perfect words.) While at Battenfeld's, you can pick up a small bouquet of hybrid anemones at an extremely reasonable price, leaving your money at their self-serve station.

Click on image to enlarge.

Friday, February 19, 2010

More Shadows Filled with Light

I love the way this paperweight casts a golden, swirling shadow while holding the sunlight captive inside its little world.

The photo was taken yesterday, 2/18/10. Click on the image to magically enlarge the photo. Thanks to Kim from my women artists' group, who gave me the paperweight before she left for Bhutan.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pretty Candy Shadow

I took this picture just a little while ago. I don't know ... it just makes me happy to look at it!

Merely click on the image to enlarge the candy and shadow. Thanks for the holiday candy, Thea. Too gorgeous to eat ... and I don't think I really want to taste a sugary treat that is bourbon-flavored. What can I say? My kids like to give me weird candy. Scroll down to the "Cosmic Piglet" post to see the marzipan pig Emma gave me at Christmas.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Heart Swollen with Secrets

Happy Valentine's Day. For you, a prose poem, "Heart Swollen with Secrets," from the new manuscript I'm working on:


The heart, swollen with secrets, learns to disguise its voice.

It mimics the reedy peep of a schoolgirl reading, nail-bitten thumb prodding each perplexing word.

It pleads in the cracked baritone of a prisoner begging for water, pressing the pattern of bars into his glistening forehead.

It complains about the heat wave with the bitter whisper of a ballerina in a body cast.

In a teenage voice, it wheedles with the speed of an auctioneer, needing car keys for cruising.

Sometimes, grinning, it charms even you with the oily tones of a politician. Yes, even you, standing there with the empty leash in your hand, blinking and scratching your chin. Too many false voices. Where oh where did your real heart go?

Lately the heart pretends to have no voice at all. Stone-lipped and sulking, it glares out at the world through its gray-green mask of lichens and moss, silent as a boulder.

This evening, in the steamy dusk, you think you hear – at last! – the beautiful, watery song of the wood thrush deep in the oaks. But it is only the heart, that brassy little mockingbird, stealing another song. It practices throwing its own voice, its true and dark and sparkling voice, as far away as it can.

-- CBK

For your holiday entertainment, do a search of the blog, entering the word "heart."

"Heart Swollen with Secrets" was originally published in The Bitter Oleander. The photo is of a tree's heart, up my road near the pond. Click on photo to enlarge image.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Salt Art

During snowstorms, I cringe when the flashing lights of town trucks blink past on my steep hill. The trucks hurl arcs of huge salt crystals in their wake. Sigh. (No, I do not drink my well water.) However, in the aftermath, the sun reveals an ironic beauty: these crackled mosaics of salt-encrusted pavement.

Thank you for the poetic words of William Blake, which always hold strange truths:

Improvement makes straight roads; but the
crooked roads without improvement are
roads of genius.

William Blake, 1757-1827

I'm all for the meander.

The photo was taken yesterday afternoon, 2/12/10. Click on image to enlarge.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hungry for Color

The snow continues to fall, drifty flakes spiraling down. All sounds are muted into a muffled silence; the pace of the day thickens and stalls. Yes, the view from my window is beautiful, but I'm so hungry for color. Although I'll likely take some wintry photos later when I venture out for a walk, right now I want to see something vivid and alive. Scrolling through last spring and summer's photos on my quest, I came across this glorious, opening rose, captured at the cusp of fullness. Just looking again into its face thaws the spirit.

John Keats wrote these stunning lines in "The Eve of St. Agnes":

Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose,
Flushing his brow, and in his pained heart
Made purple riot.

-- John Keats, 1795 - 1821

Those three words instill spangled commotion in your mind, don't they? "Made purple riot"! And inside the "pained heart." Perfect. Wandering through Keats' writing, I came across these additional powerful and unsettling lines from "The Living Hand," a fragment. I wasn't expecting this haunted feeling, this visitation, to overcome me. See what happens to you after reading these eight lines:

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm'd -- see here it is --
I hold it towards you.

-- John Keats, 1795 - 1821

Shiver. This makes you want to leap fully into your skin, fill your lungs, and take off running to live your life in the deepest way you can. Do you remember what you needed -- with your whole heart -- to do?

The photograph was taken at White Flower Farms in Litchfield, Connecticut on 6/7/09. Click on the image to enlarge.