Seeing the wood and the trees

Sometimes what you see is impossible to describe in words….sometimes, I think, you just have to resort to visuals. For instance, how do you describe all the colour in the woods on a dull February day?  A list of the painter’s palette…sepia, ecru, raw umber, burnt umber, brown madder, Mars violet deep?…. .





Well, maybe there is a poem in there somewhere, but if you’re trying to convey the essence of the thing, maybe a different approach is called for? Photography? Oils? In the end, everything is translated, and this, in my opinion, is what makes art. For instance, the above pictures. May not look much to you, but this was a poem in the making, particularly the final shot…the separation of an ivy carcass from the dead trunk of a fallen tree, creating its own magic moment of metaphor. So, for anyone who wants to know about my process this is how it’s done, or not…as the case may be. No coincidence, incidentally, that I lost a close friend to cancer this week:

In the Woods

In death the ivy is a fallen husk

it wastes from the carcass

of the old host tree…


now storm victims beside the track

desiccating already to fallow mesh,

it decorates the wooded path.


What unspoken history between

parasite and host,

the storms that didn’t fell them


the sunlight that didn’t blanch their leaves

the hug through cold and heat,

the essence of which no one else can understand


though onlookers may have commented

what mighty branches

and how green the lush of growth


Now in death parted

making way for other creatures, other lives,

to the eye, a weaver’s basket, empty of fruit.








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