The end of April

Time has flown by, and now it is the end of poetry month. Though I celebrate poetry all year long, I enjoy sharing some of the gems I find with friends and family. So, to close out the month I am bringing you the following poem which I feel captures the grandeur and immensity of the emotion the poet is writing about. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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………………………………………………………………….   After Years

…………………………………………………….Today, from a distance, I saw you

…………………………………………………….walking away, and without a sound

…………………………………………………….the glittering face of a glacier

………………………………………………… …slid into the sea. An ancient oak

…………………………………..……………. …fell in the Cumberlands, holding

……………………………………………….. ….only a handful of leaves, and an old woman

………………………………………….. ……….scattering corn to her chickens looked u

…………………………………………….. ..    ..for an instant. At the other side

……………………………………………… …. .of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times

…………………………………….. ………….. ..the size of our sun exploded

…………………………………………………. ..and vanished, leaving a small green spot

…………………………………………………….on the astronomer’s retina

…………………………………………………….as he stood in the great open dome

…………………………………………………….of my heart with no one to tell.

…………………………………………………………………………………………….Ted Kooser

Old Mill

 

 

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……………………………………………………………..Old mill

……………………………………………………………..open to the heavens

……………………………………………………………..has only the industry

……………………………………………………………..of birds to

……………………………………………………………..fill its emptiness

……………………………………………………………..with their chatter.

……………………………………………………………………………………..R.K.Brown 2012

 

The other side of the mill shown above is housing units, but I think it might be too late for this stretch. Much of the roof is open or sprouting trees, the building has many missing windows exposing even more of it to the elements. www.massmills.net shows the ones that have been rehabbed, so maybe this one will be also. At one point there were 5 buildings in this complex, plus any smaller units added here and there. It must have been quite a sight in full motion, the noise must have been deafening inside, and no doubt could be heard outside as well. The next town over, Lawerence MA, had even more mills, the Wood Mill was massive, said to be the largest of its sort in the world. They have not fared as well as the ones in Lowell, which has the UMASS Lowell campus (university), the national park, and many museums as a result.  Both cities grew up around the mills and their industry, which then went south and then overseas, and became an outdated form of manufacturing as technology increased. The big mill strike in Lawerence in 1912 (often called “the bread and roses strike”) was a sign that times were changing whether owners and workers were able to see it or not. Once WW2 ended and machines could handle jobs with fewer people, and people would work union free in the south, the real decline of the northern mills began. Once the mills began shutting down there was little use or need for such huge buildings, some still filled with old equipment. Over the years some succumbed to fire, some to the wrecking ball, some to mother nature and a fortunate bunch to reuse of many sorts. If you are interested in reading or seeing more here are a few sites to check. (Or just search Lowell MA mills or Lawerence MA mills.)

www.nps.gov

www.lawerencehistory.org

www.youtube.com

www.flickr.com

 

Parents

 

Parents

 

I felt his death coming for years

the way you can under

fluorescent lights in a library

with no windows, reading

some bright page, and gradually

feel the sky outside

invisibly cloud over. But I remember

those last few times before his fall

how they would be standing in the driveway

waving goodbye again, how they lit up

for a moment, suddenly not old but just

themselves, his arm around her, cheering us on,

cheering for life itself as we drove away.

………………………………………………….Frank Steele

 

We are all actually born to aging parents; we just don’t realize it until we ourselves have reached a certain age of awareness. As children and young adults things generally fit as they should, grandparents, then parents. One set seemingly always having been old and the other always our parents. Even when we hear stories of their youthful endeavors, it is as if it couldn’t have really been them. The rightful hierarchy in our minds has people ahead of us that will always be older, a buffer against our own mortality. Yet there comes a time when we can’t help but notice fewer people are ahead of us that fit that profile. Suddenly we are the parents of young children, then grown children and now are the elders of the community as our elders die. Though in fact, everyone has been aging all along, it just wasn’t as apparent until we leave behind the milestone birthdays of youth (5, 10, 16, 21) that we really grasp it. Maybe it is the first sign of illness, forgetfulness or slowness in their steps, perhaps it is our own work speeding up as theirs winds down. But we notice it and it gives us pause, in the busyness of living we are suddenly aware of the advancing years. And to look into our parents eyes is to glimpse of the terrain they are travelling, with no map, as we will too.

In Stone Poetry

To continue with the poetry month theme, I wanted to share some more found poems. This time from the cemetery. Often there are lengthy ones on the gravestones, but the script can be worn and hard to read. Not everyone likes cemeteries, I like the stonework, statues and general sense of contemplation from walking around the paths. Some of the gravestones are indecipherable due to exposure to the weather, some seem as crisp as the day they were placed over 150 years before. The Lowell Cemetery has graves of all ages interspersed so one from 2003 will sit near one from 1823. When i went recently I was able to gather these images and make a short poem:

Advice

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Good advice

Scatter  good

my loved one,

love  joy!

Find a poem today!

Spacing Out

I am missing out on studio time this week due to school vacation and college visits, which is making me itch to get back in and work on something. I am also awaiting a delivery of supplies. I love that feeling of anticipation of waiting for a package to arrive. It is a funny feeling as I am the one who placed the order and should know what is coming and not be so excited. But I am! I do the same with everything I order, I can’t wait to open the box and breathe in all the…possibilities that are inside. This box will have frames in it so I will be able to get some new prints up on the walls of my studio. Here are some images from February when I rehung everything following the sandblasting.

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Come June I will have a new across the hall neighbor and several down the hall neighbors as new spaces open up and people come and go. As I grow into my space I want to add a couple more work surfaces. I have 2 one is more for desk/computer work and the other for painting and framing. I don’t like to have wet and dry on the same surface though, it makes it hard to move easily between 2 activities.  So, even though they aren’t very attractive, the old serviceable folding table will be what I get. They are easy to clean, can be collapsed if needed, easy to move. If I were to start to explore encaustic it also makes sense to have a durable surface. My mind is awhirl as I consider the next year in the studio. Maybe I will even be able to squeeze in a painting class this fall, it’s all out there…the possibilities waiting to come out of the box!