Haikuey For A Friend

“How would you say this more simply and more haikuey”  –

“Spring Sunset Gold-Yellow Song Upon The Sky Trumpeting Daffodils?”

How would I? (turn this observation and string into a haiku), is the question asked of me about eight years ago when it was queried, and almost five years since she passed and crossed over the rainbow bridge. I may have tried once, however I was none-too successful. She was my favorite poet, even though she hardly wrote any tailored or even casual poetry. Her words just flowed into “raspberry and tangerine images.” Ours was a forty-year correspondence with a shared love of nature and the arts.

I rediscovered the question on a sticky note in her very distinct handwriting this morning and decided to sit down and finish the conversation. I hope that I can do her proud and know that she is smiling anyway.

For Robin, forever friend – I miss you and your words:

daffodils trumpet
sunset’s golden song  ~
a listening sky

ag ~ June 2017

I hope the stars appreciate your special beauty.



Mindful Writing ~ 2014:16

Waxing With The Moon

That moon again –
this month it’s the face 
of the Full Wolf Moon
as we take our place 
in a booth at the local bar.

We are not really there 
to drink or eat as much
as to share and discuss
lifetimes of laughter and fear
just in the past week alone.

Waxing with the moon
all that brings us close
to tears and beyond –
vulnerability to freedom
and the light of the martyr.

Oh, I get it now.
Christ accepted crucifixion
not as woe-is-me-martyr but simply as
the responsibility?

Without remorse or penance
instead to understand honestly
our own footsteps in our own lives
that lead us to and through 
the pathways of all the small guesses.

We two with the spirit of the Jaguar 
will come together the next time 
in a booth at the local bar to revisit
the laughter and fear of arms open wide
and the face of another full moon.

ag ~ 2014

for Vicky

Tradition or Transition







What better time, meal, gathering, opportunity or disaster than Thanksgiving to try to blend, create and respect the old vs. the new?   It’s a new canvas or loaded gun depending on your point of view and who’s actually doing the cooking!

I love Thanksgiving as do most Americans.  It is a part of the holiday season – a gateway as well as the harvest.  Harvest is a wonderful time to gather the fruit of hard-earned labor and to give thanks for the ability to do so.  It is a time of sharing, reviewing and appreciating.

In many households, the meal is the centerpiece – a clarion call for family and friends to share what is better and what is worse.  So food can be an important metaphor for honoring tradition (ancestors) and creating transition (the rest of us).







In my household, there will be eight females.  Three spirited elders (over 80), four “women of a certain age” and one blossoming sweet girl. Oh, and my female hound dog.  We did this before, the same group in 2011.  In the past two years, we have weathered loss, major illnesses, a blizzard, a super-storm, heartbreak, emotional trauma, new friendships, new directions, courage, strength and so on… In other words, many more reasons to be grateful to be able to gather once again around the table.  My table to be exact.







And it is in a lovely table in an old, cozy and warm farmhouse on wooded and managed farmland.  The kitchen holds aromas throughout the day of turkey roasting and apples baking.  It is the setting, albeit a smaller, older and female (this year) version of a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving calendar.  In other words – a blended modern family-friend gathering.







So now, with only about four of us eating an adult portion – I am trying to determine what stays (tradition) and what goes (transition) this year in order to save time, energy and resources without sacrificing the bounty.  Stay with me on this… my big question – do I buy a smallish 14 – 15 lb. turkey from the local farm as usual and continue to support the small and historic farm OR do I buy turkey parts (at the local butcher), roast them and save myself a good deal of time and effort to cook, carve and cleanup the mess.  Do the math – it seems simple: roasting turkey parts = more time + more energy – grease = more fun!   The magazine Bon Appetit piqued my interest with recipes and beautiful photos of breasts and leg served browned to perfection with herbs and carrots on beautiful platters.







The proverbial light bulb or in this case – sunflower is lit.   Now the idea is to sell it to the elders of the group who shopped, prepped, cooked, baked, served and cleaned up throughout the night-before, day-of, without a dishwasher, electronic devices and kitchen aides etc. and walked uphill (both ways) to school in snowstorms with regular shoes.  I’ve got my work cut out for me.  Keep in mind that I am the one also responsible for initiating several other changes including but not limited to eliminating the ever-popular (even sacrosanct in Italian families) pasta and gravy-meat course, soup with little meatballs (now called Italian Wedding soup) course and fruit and nuts.  Someone has to do it.  As the eldest female – third generation on my mother’s side – I have excercised my right and responsibility to institute many changes that usually involved one or more of angst, fear, anger, and aggita (Italian indigestion).  So be it.  I’ll keep you posted or… not!









ag ~ Early November 2013














An Art Walk and Vulnerability






This past weekend I was a participant at a local art-walk.  It was my first time to show and offer my paintings and collage work for sale.   It was exciting and exhausting.  I was more tired at the end of the day than I ever was after many a long day of labor as landscaper.  Meeting and greeting is simply hard work!

It was beyond wonderful to see so many friends, family, co-workers and clients – new and old come through the door with a big smile on their face every time I turned around.   And it was equally as gratifying to introduce each of them to the other artists’ paintings – all different and brilliant in their own way.  I offered my mini-business cards, which were strategically located next to dark chocolate kisses, with the hope that the kisses would entice a visitor to take my artist card as well.  This worked well  to my advantage and will be a staple for future shows.

It was an exhilarating, successful and fun day.  I did not sell anything other than myself and my love of creating and painting.  I put my artwork “out there – front and center” for everyone to see like it or not!  This was entirely out of my comfort zone.  It is a very vulnerable and open stance.  At the same time, it is also very liberating to share what is truly close to one’s heart and soul and trust that you are supported even if it’s only for the effort.  And I am unconditionally supported by all for far more than just the effort.  So it is with a sense of gratitude and  happiness to all my fellow artists, friends and family (here, there and everywhere), that I can now move forward with the real work – showing up to paint and poet despite dishes in the sink, clothes to wash, grass to mow etc. etc. etc..

A beloved quote that says it all for me and my art by Pablo Picasso:

“If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse… but surely you will see the wildness!”


 After the Storm  ~


Teach Your Hands Words

“Your Hands Need Words”

This from an artist-teacher that I am studying with.  Her name is Laurel Oswald Clark, and she is unafraid to tell it like it is regarding my growing body of work in paint and drawing.  Laurel also said “teach your hands to talk.” As a poet and a painter, this advice intrigued me to no end.  I have tried, since I put pen to paper and brush to canvas, to mix up my mediums.  My goal is to poet with paint and paint life’s poetry.  This may not be exactly what Laurel intended, however my thoughts flew in this direction.  Her message is that we need to teach our hands through practice – the language (words) to express our vision/intention.  What a great way to say it!

Language is an amazing concept, and I am learning that there are so many non-linear languages that are carried on around us.  For instance, flowers speak to us through color and fragrance.  Dogs use body language and scent, birds sing and squawk etc.

Now I am being urged to teach my hands yet another language – that of sight and my tools are line, color, shape, texture and more.  My hands are fairly adept as their own set of tools to function as part of my physical being.  But it never occurred to me before that I would have to teach them “words”.  I absolutely love the concept and along with Laurel’s other recommendation to “set an intention every single time you set out to paint” –  I now have the extra oomph that I need to express my own vision/version of lyrical abstract-impressionism.

I am very grateful to Laurel Clark for sharing this bit of wisdom with me.  I am equally grateful to all my instructors who are guiding me and fellow artists/students along our creative paths with all their hard-earned knowledge, experience and blessings.  Each one of these hard-working artists is supportive, nurturing and gifted.  It is wonderful to hear them quote their own favorite instructors-mentors and pass on stories and lessons with such generous and gracious hearts.

Please visit the websites of these extraordinary NJ artists and instructors:

Julie Friedman: http://www.juliefriedmanart.com
Leah K. Tomaino: http://www.leahktomaino.com
Dannielle Mick: http://www.danniellemick.com or http://www.lakesideartstudio.com
Laurel Oswald Clark: http://www.laureloswaldclark.artspan.com

and my own art (in a toddler stage as of this writing):  www.andrearosegrillo.com

as the land holds stories unfold in garden voices

ag ~ 2013

Blue Chicory and Queen Anne’s Lace

Aware are we now
where we are now 
and nothing more.
Our youthful dreams and desires bend toward
the graceful acceptance of simpler joys:

Tigerlilies calling forth thunderheads.
Blue chicory and queen anne’s lace 
that run along abandoned railroad tracks.
Meadows of ripening summer grass
anchored by a heaving stone wall.
Rockface punctuated with Prickly Pear
beside a muddy river minding its own.
Dogs lapping at the edge of a pond 
and joyfully rolling in fresh-cut hay.
Clouds holding their own conversations 
in a cornflower-blue sky.
Finger-sniffing rubs of tomato and basil
in a walled and weeded garden 
next to plants creeping back into wilderness.
Still air heavy and languid 
slow-walking in the rain.
Slow-waking and rising
to Sunday morning quiet.
Breakfast on sweet-tart apple pie
with smelly gooey farm fresh cheese.
Blueberry tea in a china cup 
with no handle 
and a curvy aubergine pattern.

The long day gives way to dusk
as tree frogs bellow their lustiness
and the summer moon slips through
billowing clouds until only

without your light –
the hurry of life

ag ~ June 2013

for Karen 
with love and gratitude
for sharing the lush and simple beauty
of our beloved land and time together.

Summer Showing Her Petticoat


“Summer showing her petticoat”
that’s how you described
your birthday month
beloved season of drifting sails
beach wanderings and stormy skies.

How I miss our sharing
the hues of a summer garden
and the fragrance of long nights
along sleepy coastal towns 
with the breath of shells.

I find it hard to believe
that you are no longer
a phone call or a letter away
but floating somewhere in the ether.

I wonder… because we made a pact
to stay connected 
and to start a new dialogue
despite this radical change of life –
is this you sending me so many hearts?

In the sand shaped by waves,
amongst stones piled high,
on the bathroom floor in a piece of tissue,
leaves that fall to the ground –
all the while I am thinking of you?

If so
I am grateful
for these sweet reminders
of a love still living in my heart
so strong and true.

for Robin ~ Happy Birthday Month
ag ~ almost July 2013