From the Pacific Northwest – Part XXXIV

A Poem for Today

“The Lioness”
By Adrienne Rich

The scent of her beauty draws me to her place.
The desert stretches, edge from edge.
Rock. Silver grasses. Drinking-hole.
The starry sky.
The lioness pauses
in her back-and-forth pacing of three yards square
and looks at me. Her eyes
are truthful. They mirror rivers,
seacoasts, volcanoes, the warmth
of moon-bathed promontories.
Under her haunches’ golden hide
flows an innate, half-abnegated power.
Her walk
is bounded. Three square yards
encompass where she goes.

“In country like this,” I say, “the problem is always
one of straying too far, not of staying

within bounds. There are caves,

high rocks, you don’t explore. Yet you know

they exist.” Her proud, vulnerable head
sniffs toward them. It is her country, she
knows they exist.

I come towards her in the starlight.
I look into her eyes
as one who loves can look.
entering the space behind her eyeballs,
leaving myself outside.
So, at last, through her pupils.

I see what she is seeing:
between her and the river’s flood,
the volcano veiled in rainbow,
a pen that measures three yards square.
Lashed bars.
The cage.
The penance.


Musings in Autumn: Suzy Kassem

“If sheep elect wolves to be their shepherds, then they deserve to be eaten.”


Art for November – Part I of II: Joseph Plaskett

Below – “Still Life With Fruit”

A Second Poem for Today

“First Snow”
By Arthur Sze

                A rabbit has stopped on the gravel driveway:

                           imbibing the silence,
                           you stare at spruce needles:

 there’s no sound of a leaf blower,
 no sign of a black bear;

 a few weeks ago, a buck scraped his rack
                against an aspen trunk;
                 a carpenter scribed a plank along a curved stone                                                   wall.
                                You only spot the rabbit’s ears and tail:

         when it moves, you locate it against speckled gravel,
          but when it stops, it blends in again;

                           the world of being is like this gravel:

 you think you own a car, a house,
this blue-zigzagged shirt, but you just borrow                                                   these things. 
                Yesterday, you constructed an aqueduct of dreams
                                      and stood at Gibraltar,

                                                    but you possess nothing.

                Snow melts into a pool of clear water;
                           and, in this stillness,

                        starlight behind daylight wherever you gaze.


Musings in Autumn: Hippolyte Taine

“I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.”


American Art – Part I: Johsel Namkung

Artist Statement: “My photography is very strongly based on music. I think photography is the reflection of things which already exist in their own right, but they need an artist so that they may be fully seen and understood by man.
These worldly things may be in physical form, as the setting moon, or in the form of sound, as ocean breakers pounding on the shore and rain tinkling down on the gravel.
In my work I would like to impart that impression of sound, music, emotion or philosophy, whatever you will, of that moment when you are on the top of the mountain standing all by yourself with your camera, that moment’s loneliness and exultation.
I would like to impart not just visual sensations but the third dimension of the visual world.”

Below – “Shi Shi Beach, Olympic Nat. Park, WA”; “Weston Beach, Point Lobos”; “Lake Julius, North Cascades”; “Osaek, Seoraksan NP, Korea”; “Sherman Pass, WA”; “Tinkham Road, WA.”







A Third Poem for Today

By Malena Morling

Like streetlights
still lit
past dawn,
the dead
stare at us
from the framed
You may say otherwise,
but there they are,
still here
without a sound
further and further
into the past.


Musings in Autumn: Benn Lerner

“Each member of this shadowy network resented the others, who were irritating reminders that nothing was more American, whatever that means, than fleeing the American, whatever that is, and that their soft version of self-imposed exile was just another of late empire’s packaged tours.”


American Art – Part II: Michael Stations

Artist Statement: “In landscape painting, it seems so simple to fall into the Impressionist’s quest for color and that of the fleeting moment. This impressionist’s aesthetic of landscape painting has always had a universal appeal.
It is a pure aesthetic experience, this pursuit of beauty and capturing the fleeting moment through mark making and color. From impressionism to ‘plein air’ painting today, this pursuit has been obsessed over by the artist and embraced by the public.
Yet, this popular aesthetic appeal that has always made me feel uneasy in my landscape paintings.
I made a decision that if the average landscape painting is viewed as a quick sketch, like a runner sprinting to the finish, then I wished to run a marathon and push the painting as far as my patience would allow.”

Below – “Canyon Park, Utah”; “Pine and Broadway (Partly Cloudy)”; “Madison Street, Remembering CMH”; “Madison (I-5)”; “Entrance.”






James “Jim” Harrison (1937-2016) was an American author known for his poetry, fiction, reviews, essays about the outdoors, and writings about food.

Some quotes from the work of Jim Harrison:

“The danger of civilization, of course, is that you will piss away your life on nonsense.”
“I like grit, I like love and death, I’m tired of irony.”
“The days are stacked against what we think we are.”
“Birthdays are ghost bounty hunters that track you down to ask, ‘Que pasa, baby?’”
“Barring love I’ll take my life in large doses alone–rivers, forests, fish, grouse, mountains. Dogs.”
“I did not want to live out my life in the strenuous effort to hold a ghost world together. It was plain as the stars that time herself moved in grand tidal sweeps rather than the tick-tocks we suffocate within, and that I must reshape myself to fully inhabit the earth rather than dawdle in the sump of my foibles.”
“Imagine if Congress were actually knowledgeable of American history.”
“It’s very difficult to look at the World and into your heart at the same time. In between, a life has passed.”
“The world that used to nurse us now keeps shouting inane instructions. That’s why I ran to the woods.”
“I’m hoping to be astonished tomorrow by I don’t know what.”
“Beware, O wanderer, the road is walking too.”


A Fourth Poem for Today

By Janet Loxley Lewis

From “Cold Hills”

I have lived so long
On the cold hills alone …
I loved the rock
And the lean pine trees,
Hated the life in the turfy meadow,
Hated the heavy, sensuous bees.
I have lived so long
Under the high monotony of starry skies,
I am so cased about
With the clean wind and the cold nights,
People will not let me in
To their warm gardens
Full of bees.


Musings in Autumn: Caroline Knapp

“The dog’s agenda is simple, fathomable, overt: I want. ‘I want to go out, come in, eat something, lie here, play with that, kiss you.’ There are no ulterior motives with a dog, no mind games, no second-guessing, no complicated negotiations or bargains, and no guilt trips or grudges if a request is denied.”


Art for November – Part II of II: Alfred Joseph Casson

Below – “White Pine”


A Fifth Poem for Today

“Notes on a Mass Stranding”
By Kamila Aisha Moon

Huge dashes in the sand, two or three
times a year they swim like words
in a sentence toward the period
of the beach, lured into sunning
themselves like humans do—
forgetting gravity,
smothered in the absence
of waves and high tides.

[Pilot whales beach themselves] when their sonar
becomes scrambled in shallow water
or when a sick member of the pod
heads for shore and others follow

61 of them on top of the South Island
wade into Farewell Spit.
18 needed help with their demises
this time, the sharp mercy
of knives still the slow motion heft
of each ocean heart.

Yes—even those born pilots,
those who have grown large and graceful
lose their way, found on their sides
season after season.
Is it more natural to care
or not to care?
Terrifying to be reminded a fluke
can fling anything or anyone
out of this world.

Oh, the endings we swim toward
without thinking!
Mysteries of mass wrong turns, sick leaders
and sirens forever sexy                                             
land or sea.
The unequaled rush
and horror of forgetting


Musings in Autumn: Charles Bukowski

“Animals never worry about Heaven or Hell. Neither do I. Maybe that’s why we get along.”


A Sixth Poem for Today

“A Great Need”
By Hafiz

Of a great need
We are all holding hands
And climbing.
Not loving is a letting go.
The terrain around here
Far too


Canadian Art – Ronald Smith

In the words of one writer, “Ronald Smith, born and educated in Fife, Scotland, studied at St. Martins College of Art in London, then did his degree at Edinburgh College of Art. He pursued his painting while teaching art and exhibiting regularly in group shows throughout Scotland.
He and his wife, also an artist, moved to Canada in 1969. He did post graduate work at Western Washington University, graduating M.Ed in Art Education. He taught again in Victoria and served as Co-ordinator of Fine Art with the BC Ministry of Education.
Ronald’s work reflects his passion for and curiosity about the origins of mankind and the place of man, past and present, on the planet. Of particular appeal are his nuances of light and colour on vast landmasses, and the intimate detail that is found in natural environments. He has a strong foundation in expressive and formal abstraction; drawing and composition; and rich orchestration of colour in the continuing tradition of the Scottish Colourists.”

Below –
“Cassiar – Northern Landscape”; “Rising Tide”; “Kingfisher”; “Flood Tide”; “Low Tide.”






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