So, without further ado, let’s get to today’s painting and poem, inspired by Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem, Sonnet IV.
To read this poem, click here (or scroll down near the bottom of the page)
A COLD WINTER DAY
On a cold winter day,
an old man sat on a park bench tottering,
nodding between clots of madness and enlightenment,
and knitted a silhouette
from a patchwork of dreams, threadbare trances,
and wisps of moth-eaten memories—
and his heart walked into it.
Around his feet a host of sparrows
danced a soot brown feather hop
and flitted higgledy-piggledy between
the breadcrumbs he tossed
like playground balls
from one squawking beak
to the next.
They saw his heart hanging heavy in the sky
and cried, “Share your secrets, Uncommon Heart!”
He was born again that day.
After all those years these words were still sung.
What did he think he was?
A gutted fish?
What cruel fisherman ripped
the bowels of his years
out of him?
There’s no Truth in Death—
Despite the bitter authority of its decree.
His heart remains,
molting its sublunar shell—
Sun-bound, hung from the clouds—
for Love’s sake its secrets tell
of a glad and glorious coming home.
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.
Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1892-1950. Born in Rockland, Maine.
Link to Biography: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/edna-st-vincent-millay
Link to Poem: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46557/what-lips-my-lips-have-kissed-and-where-and-why
ABOUT THE POETRY PAINTING PROJECT
For the past couple of months I have been working on a huge new secret project with my painter, Addie Hirshten, of Studio Alchemy
We selected 30 poems (from the public domain) and each day for the next 30 days I will write a poem inspired by it, and Addie will paint a painting.
Expect an outpouring of creative energy! 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. I feel so inspired by the poetry we are working with AND seeing Addie’s process as well. Expect daily surprises with our posts. Expect passion. Expect love. Expect life.
The world is but a canvas to the imagination.Henry David Thoreau
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!