The Painting & Poetry Project 2021

Week 17: Fire

Year 2021. What does it mean to you? To Addie and I, it is full of hope and promise. It is a turning point. The beginning of the end of a pandemic. The end of a volatile presidency and a return to sensible governance. The end of quarantines, isolation, and social distancing and a return to physical human interaction. We will once again congregate, gather with those we love, see them up close, touch and feel again … not in an impersonal virtual space, but in the very real and beautiful world.


WEEK 17

The 17th theme for the year is Fire.

Fire tests gold, misfortune brave men.

Seneca, On Providence

ADDIE’S PAINTING

Fire!


MY POEM

Serpent Sun

Serpent Sun of the Man of Bronze!
Lift up his shield.
Carry high his spear.
Ignite his courage.
Extinguish his fear.
Breathe fire into his fingers,
fire on his wings,
fire into his eyes,
to scorch the far-flung land.

He’ll rise
over all the savage nations
and fall
on his vainglorious dust—
a bellyful for sleeping vultures
in the corpse-strewn desert
of his vile, forgotten deeds.


ABOUT THE PAINTING & POETRY PROJECT

Brad & Addie

We want to celebrate 2021 with an outpouring of creativity and optimism!

We’ve selected 52 themes (one theme per week for the year), and each week for 2021, I will write a poem and Addie will paint a painting inspired by that theme.

This is the sort of big project that artists live for … where we can say what we yearn to say.  Big picture stuff. Heart wrenching stuff. Expect surprises, love, and a passion for life.

Check Out Addie’s Instagram Account: www.instagram.com/alchemy.of.art.addie.hirschten/

Check out Addie’s art studio — Studio Alchemy:
studioalchemy.art/


Every month or so, I’ll send a newsletter via e-mail to my subscribers. More often than not, it will contain a list of my new blog posts.  You may find something in it that interests you! Or more likely, you’ll be bored to tears and curse my very existence. In either case, you should sign up. You may unsubscribe at any time!

The Painting & Poetry Project 2021

Week 16: Water

Year 2021. What does it mean to you? To Addie and I, it is full of hope and promise. It is a turning point. The beginning of the end of a pandemic. The end of a volatile presidency and a return to sensible governance. The end of quarantines, isolation, and social distancing and a return to physical human interaction. We will once again congregate, gather with those we love, see them up close, touch and feel again … not in an impersonal virtual space, but in the very real and beautiful world.


WEEK 16

The 16th theme for the year is Water.

…  the sea has never been friendly to man.  At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness …

Joseph Conrad, The Mirror of the Sea

ADDIE’S PAINTING

Waterfall


MY POEM

Diamonds on the Water

My heart sank
in the pitch
alone—
upon my table a bowl
of sorrows and a spoon
made of bone.

I expected no one—
only tears
to consecrate this bitter meal.

And yet you came.
And I cried and cried—
long into the joyless night.

Your heart was heavy for mine
We shared my wretched burden.
Mercifully,
you seized my shoulder,
lifted me up
and through my hovel window shone
first light—
diamonds glittered on the water—
precious gifts where before
there were none.


ABOUT THE PAINTING & POETRY PROJECT

Brad & Addie

We want to celebrate 2021 with an outpouring of creativity and optimism!

We’ve selected 52 themes (one theme per week for the year), and each week for 2021, I will write a poem and Addie will paint a painting inspired by that theme.

This is the sort of big project that artists live for … where we can say what we yearn to say.  Big picture stuff. Heart wrenching stuff. Expect surprises, love, and a passion for life.

Check Out Addie’s Instagram Account: www.instagram.com/alchemy.of.art.addie.hirschten/

Check out Addie’s art studio — Studio Alchemy:
studioalchemy.art/


Every month or so, I’ll send a newsletter via e-mail to my subscribers. More often than not, it will contain a list of my new blog posts.  You may find something in it that interests you! Or more likely, you’ll be bored to tears and curse my very existence. In either case, you should sign up. You may unsubscribe at any time!

The Painting & Poetry Project 2021

Week 15: Wind

Year 2021. What does it mean to you? To Addie and I, it is full of hope and promise. It is a turning point. The beginning of the end of a pandemic. The end of a volatile presidency and a return to sensible governance. The end of quarantines, isolation, and social distancing and a return to physical human interaction. We will once again congregate, gather with those we love, see them up close, touch and feel again … not in an impersonal virtual space, but in the very real and beautiful world.


WEEK 15

The 15th theme for the year is Wind.

The road to Manderley lay ahead. There was no moon. The sky above our heads was inky black. But the sky on the horizon was not dark at all. It was shot with crimson, like a splash of blood. And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea.

Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca

ADDIE’S PAINTING

Albatross in the Wind


MY POEM

Old Man of the Desert

An old man walks alone, barefoot
on sand that cuts like broken crystal
under a blinding empyrean.

The denizens of his village deride his wandering,
yet he bears no witness to their pale mockery.
His heart is bursting with the empty desert
its mute measure deafens his ears with love songs.

The East wind lifts him up
(he trusts it as a suckling might of its mother),
and it carries him past the Valley of Kings,
where Pharaohs fearfully sleep,
past the Sacred Lake of Thebes,
and the dust of man’s apotheotic delusions,
to the desert’s dawning edge.

His thirst becomes his compass,
and though his lips are parched
and cracked like bricks of mud
baking under a sweltering, neolithic sun,
he sings—
as a young gypsy girl sings
and dances under the cool, spangled moon,
and tumbles out of the oasis
on a playfully salvational breeze.


ABOUT THE PAINTING & POETRY PROJECT

Brad & Addie

We want to celebrate 2021 with an outpouring of creativity and optimism!

We’ve selected 52 themes (one theme per week for the year), and each week for 2021, I will write a poem and Addie will paint a painting inspired by that theme.

This is the sort of big project that artists live for … where we can say what we yearn to say.  Big picture stuff. Heart wrenching stuff. Expect surprises, love, and a passion for life.

Check Out Addie’s Instagram Account: www.instagram.com/alchemy.of.art.addie.hirschten/

Check out Addie’s art studio — Studio Alchemy:
studioalchemy.art/


Every month or so, I’ll send a newsletter via e-mail to my subscribers. More often than not, it will contain a list of my new blog posts.  You may find something in it that interests you! Or more likely, you’ll be bored to tears and curse my very existence. In either case, you should sign up. You may unsubscribe at any time!

The Painting & Poetry Project 2021

Week 14: Earth

Year 2021. What does it mean to you? To Addie and I, it is full of hope and promise. It is a turning point. The beginning of the end of a pandemic. The end of a volatile presidency and a return to sensible governance. The end of quarantines, isolation, and social distancing and a return to physical human interaction. We will once again congregate, gather with those we love, see them up close, touch and feel again … not in an impersonal virtual space, but in the very real and beautiful world.


WEEK 14

The 14th theme for the year is Earth.

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

ADDIE’S PAINTING

Roots Into The Earth


MY POEM

Wildflowers

A peasant boy gathers wildflowers
for a girl—a ghost of a girl—he once saw,
summers-a lifetime-an aeon ago,
dancing, singing, alone by a creek, fringed by a hot sky
that burned the tall grasses golden.

He imagines her dirty, lily-white feet, stamping, pirouetting,
tra-la-la-ing.
He imagines her toes curling, timidly testing the cool, clear water—
perhaps it is too cold—

but what does it matter when there is so much life and love,
in all this sun and song?


ABOUT THE PAINTING & POETRY PROJECT

Brad & Addie

We want to celebrate 2021 with an outpouring of creativity and optimism!

We’ve selected 52 themes (one theme per week for the year), and each week for 2021, I will write a poem and Addie will paint a painting inspired by that theme.

This is the sort of big project that artists live for … where we can say what we yearn to say.  Big picture stuff. Heart wrenching stuff. Expect surprises, love, and a passion for life.

Check Out Addie’s Instagram Account: www.instagram.com/alchemy.of.art.addie.hirschten/

Check out Addie’s art studio — Studio Alchemy:
studioalchemy.art/


Every month or so, I’ll send a newsletter via e-mail to my subscribers. More often than not, it will contain a list of my new blog posts.  You may find something in it that interests you! Or more likely, you’ll be bored to tears and curse my very existence. In either case, you should sign up. You may unsubscribe at any time!

The Painting & Poetry Project 2021

Week 13: The Seed

Year 2021. What does it mean to you? To Addie and I, it is full of hope and promise. It is a turning point. The beginning of the end of a pandemic. The end of a volatile presidency and a return to sensible governance. The end of quarantines, isolation, and social distancing and a return to physical human interaction. We will once again congregate, gather with those we love, see them up close, touch and feel again … not in an impersonal virtual space, but in the very real and beautiful world.


WEEK 13

The 13th theme for the year is The Seed.

Though I do not believe
that a plant will spring up
where no seed has been,
I have great faith in a seed.
Convince me that you have a seed there,
and I am prepared to expect wonders.

Henry David Thoreau, Faith in a Seed

ADDIE’S PAINTING

The Mustard Seed


MY POEM

Spring (Parts 1 & 2)

A small infant gestates inside the center of the world. From where did she come? 
Is she Father? Is she Mother? Is she Sun or Moon? 
Does she rise from her own ashes? 

To be sure, only paradox is possible. 

I saw her first in my mind, before she was real. 
I saw her fathoms deep in the dark blue ocean. 
She had spread herself thin, a wide willowy finespun web— 
a primordium of cells, each compelled but unaware. 

I stood alone on the sandy shore, buffeted by the wind, 
white cliffs behind me, sheer and imposing. 
The sky was black and studded with stars, 
and the sea glittered like a treasure chest of diamonds. 

So long was that Night 
that it showed me Death. 
I slept and sometimes wept 
to have lost hope to live forever—perhaps not to live but remember. 
Even eternal Spring has no memory of all its million flowerings.

After ten thousand nights long,
so long that what ends and begins are no longer one, 
the Womb-Sea churned and seethed, and turned itself over and within, 
and by Divine Alchemy was transubstantiated  
into a garden bed, worlds-wide, soil-rich, blacker than Night, 
from which bloomed a Golden Daffodil. 

The stem, strong and green, climbed the blue-water sky, 
climbed the windblown clouds, 
toward the Sun and Moon and the host of celestial fires, 
and from its corona, the Earth was born, 
and its cliffs of rock and stone, 
and its forests, and its birds, and its crush of living things, 
breathing and dying, 
and its roots, like vines, or sea serpents, crept from the water 
to my sandy shore, twisted about my limbs, and lifted me up, 
and set me down on its pistil throne. 

Did I come before the Daffodil, or it before me?
Did I create it or it me?

Are we two or one?

Is it a question that is its answer?
It’s an answer that is its question.


ABOUT THE PAINTING & POETRY PROJECT

Brad & Addie

We want to celebrate 2021 with an outpouring of creativity and optimism!

We’ve selected 52 themes (one theme per week for the year), and each week for 2021, I will write a poem and Addie will paint a painting inspired by that theme.

This is the sort of big project that artists live for … where we can say what we yearn to say.  Big picture stuff. Heart wrenching stuff. Expect surprises, love, and a passion for life.

Check Out Addie’s Instagram Account: www.instagram.com/alchemy.of.art.addie.hirschten/

Check out Addie’s art studio — Studio Alchemy:
studioalchemy.art/


Every month or so, I’ll send a newsletter via e-mail to my subscribers. More often than not, it will contain a list of my new blog posts.  You may find something in it that interests you! Or more likely, you’ll be bored to tears and curse my very existence. In either case, you should sign up. You may unsubscribe at any time!

The Painting & Poetry Project 2021

Week 12: Spring

Year 2021. What does it mean to you? To Addie and I, it is full of hope and promise. It is a turning point. The beginning of the end of a pandemic. The end of a volatile presidency and a return to sensible governance. The end of quarantines, isolation, and social distancing and a return to physical human interaction. We will once again congregate, gather with those we love, see them up close, touch and feel again … not in an impersonal virtual space, but in the very real and beautiful world.


WEEK 12

The 12th theme for the year is Spring.

The Sun — just touched the Morning —
The Morning — Happy thing —
Supposed that He had come to dwell —
And Life would all be Spring!

Emily Dickinson, 232

ADDIE’S PAINTING

Out of Darkness Comes Spring


MY POEM

Spring (Part 1)

A small infant gestates inside the center of the world. From where did she come? 
Is she Father? Is she Mother? Is she Sun or Moon? 
Does she rise from her own ashes? 

To be sure, only paradox is possible. 

I saw her first in my mind, before she was real. 
I saw her fathoms deep in the dark blue ocean. 
She had spread herself thin, a wide willowy finespun web— 
a primordium of cells, each compelled but unaware. 

I stood alone on the sandy shore, buffeted by the wind, 
white cliffs behind me, sheer and imposing. 
The sky was black and studded with stars, 
and the sea glittered like a treasure chest of diamonds. 

So long was that Night 
that it showed me Death. 
I slept and sometimes wept 
to have lost hope to live forever—perhaps not to live but remember. 
Even eternal Spring has no memory of all its million flowerings.


ABOUT THE PAINTING & POETRY PROJECT

Brad & Addie

We want to celebrate 2021 with an outpouring of creativity and optimism!

We’ve selected 52 themes (one theme per week for the year), and each week for 2021, I will write a poem and Addie will paint a painting inspired by that theme.

This is the sort of big project that artists live for … where we can say what we yearn to say.  Big picture stuff. Heart wrenching stuff. Expect surprises, love, and a passion for life.

Check Out Addie’s Instagram Account: www.instagram.com/alchemy.of.art.addie.hirschten/

Check out Addie’s art studio — Studio Alchemy:
studioalchemy.art/


Every month or so, I’ll send a newsletter via e-mail to my subscribers. More often than not, it will contain a list of my new blog posts.  You may find something in it that interests you! Or more likely, you’ll be bored to tears and curse my very existence. In either case, you should sign up. You may unsubscribe at any time!

The Painting & Poetry Project 2021

Week 11: Stairs

Year 2021. What does it mean to you? To Addie and I, it is full of hope and promise. It is a turning point. The beginning of the end of a pandemic. The end of a volatile presidency and a return to sensible governance. The end of quarantines, isolation, and social distancing and a return to physical human interaction. We will once again congregate, gather with those we love, see them up close, touch and feel again … not in an impersonal virtual space, but in the very real and beautiful world.


WEEK ELEVEN

The 11th theme for the year is stairs.

My Soul. I summon to the winding ancient stair;
Set all your mind upon the steep ascent,
Upon the broken, crumbling battlement,
Upon the breathless starlit air …

William Butler Yeats, The Winding Stair

ADDIE’S PAINTING

Steps


MY POEM

The Stair

I beheld the golden-haired one, 
high on her throne. 
I thought her reign eternal. 

In her single eye shone, 
brilliant and blinding, 
a million paths unfolded. 

Curiously though, 
she sovereign stood 
to descend the stair once climbed. 

And my head crooked low, 
for so it mournfully thought, 
‘Even God submits to Time.’ 


ABOUT THE PAINTING & POETRY PROJECT

Brad & Addie

We want to celebrate 2021 with an outpouring of creativity and optimism!

We’ve selected 52 themes (one theme per week for the year), and each week for 2021, I will write a poem and Addie will paint a painting inspired by that theme.

This is the sort of big project that artists live for … where we can say what we yearn to say.  Big picture stuff. Heart wrenching stuff. Expect surprises, love, and a passion for life.

Check Out Addie’s Instagram Account: www.instagram.com/alchemy.of.art.addie.hirschten/

Check out Addie’s art studio — Studio Alchemy:
studioalchemy.art/


Every month or so, I’ll send a newsletter via e-mail to my subscribers. More often than not, it will contain a list of my new blog posts.  You may find something in it that interests you! Or more likely, you’ll be bored to tears and curse my very existence. In either case, you should sign up. You may unsubscribe at any time!

The Painting & Poetry Project 2021

Week 10: The Path

Year 2021. What does it mean to you? To Addie and I, it is full of hope and promise. It is a turning point. The beginning of the end of a pandemic. The end of a volatile presidency and a return to sensible governance. The end of quarantines, isolation, and social distancing and a return to physical human interaction. We will once again congregate, gather with those we love, see them up close, touch and feel again … not in an impersonal virtual space, but in the very real and beautiful world.


WEEK TEN

The tenth theme for the year is the path.

This question is one that only a very old man asks. Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long long paths, but I am not anywhere. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.

Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

ADDIE’S PAINTING

The Path


MY POEM

Old Gypsy

Late autumn afternoon—
late, like so many autumns past,
is a sinuous, trodden path,
between redemption and regret
.

An old and wayward gypsy,
a hoary and hobbled tramp,
(does he know what is home and chartless country?)
snakes his way through the elder trees
that rise like skeletons
from the cold gray dust
to share their black arts and dark secrets.

See how their limbs stir the cauldron of breezes
with outstretched arms that reach past our mortal years.

It’s a kind of incantation.

He turns to hear
his own footfalls in the dust,
but bony, twig-like fingers
prod and point the way ahead—
divining rods that teach and portend
in signs drawn in wind and shadows.


ABOUT THE PAINTING & POETRY PROJECT

Brad & Addie

We want to celebrate 2021 with an outpouring of creativity and optimism!

We’ve selected 52 themes (one theme per week for the year), and each week for 2021, I will write a poem and Addie will paint a painting inspired by that theme.

This is the sort of big project that artists live for … where we can say what we yearn to say.  Big picture stuff. Heart wrenching stuff. Expect surprises, love, and a passion for life.

Check Out Addie’s Instagram Account: www.instagram.com/alchemy.of.art.addie.hirschten/

Check out Addie’s art studio — Studio Alchemy:
studioalchemy.art/


Every month or so, I’ll send a newsletter via e-mail to my subscribers. More often than not, it will contain a list of my new blog posts.  You may find something in it that interests you! Or more likely, you’ll be bored to tears and curse my very existence. In either case, you should sign up. You may unsubscribe at any time!

The Painting & Poetry Project 2021

Week 9: The Bridge

Year 2021. What does it mean to you? To Addie and I, it is full of hope and promise. It is a turning point. The beginning of the end of a pandemic. The end of a volatile presidency and a return to sensible governance. The end of quarantines, isolation, and social distancing and a return to physical human interaction. We will once again congregate, gather with those we love, see them up close, touch and feel again … not in an impersonal virtual space, but in the very real and beautiful world.


WEEK NINE

The ninth theme for the year is the bridge.

We ourselves shall be loved for awhile and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.

Thornton Wilder, from The Bridge over San Luis Rey

ADDIE’S PAINTING

The Bridge


MY POEM

Longfellow’s Bridge

The river runs black with ink, 
as does the sky at midnight. 
Even her reflection shimmering, 
like the moon in a saucer cup, 
was written in ink.

You again cross the bridge, 
from starlight to the circus-city,
only to catch your breath mid-sentence. 
You drape your body over the stone parapet, 
like a wet rag.
 

You read her book again,
and thumb the brittle pages 
a short dozen footfalls from the clangorous city—
a million-headed ocean, 
that laughs to forget, 
cries at sunset,
and is then savagely struck dumb
by a white bolt of terror. 

What is your grievance?
Why raise your glass of sorrows?
Do you think she still cries for you 
in a room without doors? 

In your desperate silence
so near the manic crowd, 
plumes of nonsense billow up from the smokestacks,
and lilies laugh in the gardens. 


ABOUT THE PAINTING & POETRY PROJECT

Brad & Addie

We want to celebrate 2021 with an outpouring of creativity and optimism!

We’ve selected 52 themes (one theme per week for the year), and each week for 2021, I will write a poem and Addie will paint a painting inspired by that theme.

This is the sort of big project that artists live for … where we can say what we yearn to say.  Big picture stuff. Heart wrenching stuff. Expect surprises, love, and a passion for life.

Check Out Addie’s Instagram Account: www.instagram.com/alchemy.of.art.addie.hirschten/

Check out Addie’s art studio — Studio Alchemy:
studioalchemy.art/


Every month or so, I’ll send a newsletter via e-mail to my subscribers. More often than not, it will contain a list of my new blog posts.  You may find something in it that interests you! Or more likely, you’ll be bored to tears and curse my very existence. In either case, you should sign up. You may unsubscribe at any time!

The Painting & Poetry Project 2021

Week 8: The River

Year 2021. What does it mean to you? To Addie and I, it is full of hope and promise. It is a turning point. The beginning of the end of a pandemic. The end of a volatile presidency and a return to sensible governance. The end of quarantines, isolation, and social distancing and a return to physical human interaction. We will once again congregate, gather with those we love, see them up close, touch and feel again … not in an impersonal virtual space, but in the very real and beautiful world.


WEEK EIGHT

The eighth theme for the year is the river.

May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from The Book of Hours (translation by Anita Barrows & Joanna Macy)

ADDIE’S PAINTING

Imaging Summer


MY POEM

The River

I came back to sit on this dusty patch of ground of my birthplace, 
by the side of a wide, flowing river.
Here lay the bones of my father, 
and the bones of my mother. 

 I am fractured, 
as they once were. 

I open the morning sun-gift, 
and scatter the gold on the cattails and the rushes.
The vault of the weeping willow, 
under which I gather myself, 
smiles

The sparrows come and dance. 
They share my bread.
I have read their book and interpret their songs. 
Their sense is keen and mark between 
the gentle deer and the yellow-fanged dog. 

Does the river purify or destroy?
Each morning I unravel dawn’s gilded question,
threading night into day. 

I have not seen the sea,
but heard stories of the monsters living there, 
and the pitiless fathoms, 
and the dark worlds beneath.
If I am stranded on open water for nights at a time, 
will I learn the language of the moon? 
Will I learn its secrets, too? 

In this wild and lovely moment,
I hear a new call for the old promise.
This river is true life.

Unmoor your boat and take your chances. 


ABOUT THE PAINTING & POETRY PROJECT

Brad & Addie

We want to celebrate 2021 with an outpouring of creativity and optimism!

We’ve selected 52 themes (one theme per week for the year), and each week for 2021, I will write a poem and Addie will paint a painting inspired by that theme.

This is the sort of big project that artists live for … where we can say what we yearn to say.  Big picture stuff. Heart wrenching stuff. Expect surprises, love, and a passion for life.

Check Out Addie’s Instagram Account: www.instagram.com/alchemy.of.art.addie.hirschten/

Check out Addie’s art studio — Studio Alchemy:
studioalchemy.art/


Every month or so, I’ll send a newsletter via e-mail to my subscribers. More often than not, it will contain a list of my new blog posts.  You may find something in it that interests you! Or more likely, you’ll be bored to tears and curse my very existence. In either case, you should sign up. You may unsubscribe at any time!