Thank You Mary Oliver

Yesterday there was sad news (for many of us) in the passing of poet Mary Oliver. She more than any other poet, showed me the way of simple words elevated to song. I always admire a master who can bring rustic or homespun to the table with seeming ease and grace and invite us to share in a feast. Mary Oliver did exactly that with words and wonder for the natural world. Simple and profound at the same time.

One of my forever favorite poems of hers:

I GO DOWN TO THE SHORE 

I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall–
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.

Mary Oliver ~ from A Thousand Mornings

Thank you.

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Pentimento

pentimento…regret is always a choice ~

A pentimento (plural pentimenti) is an alteration in a painting, evidenced by traces of previous work, showing that the artist has changed his or her mind as to the composition during the process of painting. The word is Italian for repentance, from the verb pentirsi, meaning to repent. Since it is my practice to work over much more  than traces of past paintings on the canvas–it would seem that I am very regretful for the failure of the original work. Hardly–and on the contrary, I look for used canvases and boards to paint over. A sterile and bright white blank surface often hinders my work. I love to work on borrowed art as long as I sand it down to simple traces of other artist’s paint. In fact, it’s like solving a puzzle to match a new concept to an old board of “borrowed” color and shapes. I am always grateful to repurpose these boards into new life. Some examples below:

“Yes, Virginia (and Andrea) – there is a Santa Claus!”

These words, minus the added parenthesis — (and Andrea) — appeared on the editorial page of the now-defunct New York Sun in 1897. Written by Frank P. Church to Virginia O’Hanlon in response to her question “…please tell the truth, is there a Santa Clause?”

His wise response included the above “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” and the following: “He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias (and no Andreas, Graces, Donnas and Toms etc.) There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.” We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.”

So thankfully, with these remembered words, I am inspired to believe in the magic of Santa Claus or Papa Noel knowing that there is kindness, generosity, beauty, joy and a frivolity in our human clan. There must also be the same spirit and light in our greater “hood” – the milky way and beyond its star dusting. Actually, there are no borders in expressing and sharing joy, love, and peace. And there is also space for grief, anger and sadness. It’s all on the creative spectrum. Just for now though, during this feminine and holy Solstice season, I welcome childhood’s version of Santa’s magic (grace) into my life and believe in it for all life.

Peace.

 

 

 

Real Pseudo-Holidays

It’s the last day of February and the last day of National Haiku Writing Month. This year, it also happens to be a leap year and therefore February’s extra day. In folk stories – it’s Sadie Hawkins Day, a pseudo-holiday based on an old hillbilly comic strip that evolved into the real world practice of Sadie Hawkins dances where the girl gets to ask the guy to dance – early role reversal.

I also use it as Procrastination Day – an extra day put to good use the practice of avoiding a task that needs to get done sooner rather than later. In that vein,  I am putting off working on paying bills in order to write this post – my last for NaHaiWri Mo ~ 2016.

Grateful thanks to all who “liked” my posts and shared your thoughts. And to all readers, writers and lovers of haiku and poetic spell. You are in my heart always.

~

February thaw
the last patch of snow remains
north of my daydreams               (5-7-5 haiku)

Flora and fauna on a Sunday stroll

 

Kickin’ Cancer Poem

Strength Hope and Gratitude
for Carolyn

 

We all know that some days are hard
If not careful they can leave us scarred.
“A sense of humor is required”
As Carolyn’s kickin’ cancer is inspired.

Strength is ours for every struggle,
Grace and grit gets us through any trouble.
“Be faithful always in small things”
God’s grace soars on butterfly wings.

There is guidance for every decision
When hope and gratitude are the vision.
Strength can grow without understanding
Our human frailties become less demanding.

“Look for the good in every day”
Music and beauty can light our way.
“Strength, hope and gratitude”
Expand our horizons and attitude.

“Be faithful always in small things”
God’s grace soars on butterfly wings.
These are gifts to own and nourish
Friends of ours always to cherish.

~

Andrea Grillo ~ February 2016

Children’s Misspelled Wisdom

I found this child’s drawing on a paper bag and have tacked it up in my studio. It’s a visual conversation between two young people:

“Dose any Body want to play with me”

“I will”

The misspelling in the question just adds to its precious simplicity, truth and  beauty. That there is a positive answer warms my heart.

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winter stars dip down to earth in words “I will”

 

 

 

Writing My Way Home

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For my last small stone writing practice of January 2016, I would like to share a Kyirelle poem that I wrote at my writer’s group. A Kyirelle poem is structured so that all the lines have eight syllables and each stanza of four lines ends in a refrain. There are four stanzas. It takes on a rhythmical form very much like a rhyming couplet. I won’t go into its exact structure – let’s just say that it’s like finishing a puzzle in the form of a poem. Writing a Kyirelle poem was given as an optional prompt or writing exercise, and while I often ignore these, I jumped on it and finished it with a flourish. This poem almost wrote itself, and I was the scribe. Since its theme centers on this month’s blogging, I am sharing it here:

 

Writing My Way Home  – A Kyirelle

As a mindful writing practice,
I blog daily on that and this.
It is called sharing a small stone,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

January lobs with a cold moon,
And winter scenes of snow monsoons.
My muse inspires an artful tone,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

Tales of grit, grace and gratitude,
Shape its forum and latitude.
With tears of laughter, grief and groans,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

Presence is my daily prayer.
Growth is awareness being here.
To this end I write my way home,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

c   Andrea Grillo ~ 2016