All posts for the month June, 2012

Long Season of Waiting

Published June 28, 2012 by rlmcdermott

I wonder why
for some of us
life is like a long
season of waiting.

Does the cone flower
know the brevity
of its dance;
its one brown
eye blasted daily
by the sun–
can it see
but the sky?

I’m a flower too
and my season
has been long.
For me, there
is no fall
in this place
just an endless
summer of grief.

I am unnatural,
a seed lifted
by the breeze
and carried here–
distant from the prairie,
distant from the tall grasses,
distant from the meadow lark,
and distant from that softer
season when the earth
puts on its gray hat
and takes its flowers home.

Tearing Up A Drawing.

Published June 14, 2012 by rlmcdermott

My art has always been and I think it will always remain a personal art, and, although, I feel great sadness at the things that are happening in this life, in this world–injustice, wars, floods, earthquakes–it is very hard, for me, to get out of my own head. I’m not a selfish person–I’ve worked all my life taking care of other people. I’d be a nurse even if it paid nothing–which for many years it did (pay nothing). I’ve come to believe that the personal is the true essence of art and that, perhaps, even the “Big Art” that we have come to think of as important is, really, just one individual’s voice. I began “When The Flowers Return To Fukushima” ten weeks ago and worked on it almost daily. In the beginning something didn’t feel right about the drawing. It seemed arrogant on my part to try and depict a tragedy that I didn’t personally experience. I fell in love with the wall murals I had seen in Kyoto and wanted to pay homage to that style. What I didn’t understand was that the Japanese masters who painted those wonderful murals had a unique understanding of space and its relationship to the object. I no more could understand that relationship then, perhaps, they could understand my intimacy with messiness and chaos. The picture, for me, was an unsettling combination of someone else’s art, my art, someone else’s experience and my experience. In the end it didn’t feel true–I tore it up. I’ve destroyed drawings before but this time it was different. I learned so much from this drawing. I spent so much time with it. Some pieces are transitional, but this drawing was so much more than a bridge to something else. Today I woke up and knew something had changed inside me–I am what I am. I can only be this artist–a personal artist, a personal poet. What I’ve come to understand is that The Flowers Have Never Left Fukushima. The Flowers live in the hearts of the Japanese people. The Flowers are their stories and their lives. Thanks to “When The Flowers Return to Fukushima” I’ve learned that art is not so much about “escaping one’s self” as about “finding one’s self”. I, therefore, have come to think that my best drawings and my best poems are those drawings and poems that don’t exist anymore, those drawings and poems that took me to a painful place and brought me back again to the reality of who I am and what I can accomplish in this life. Thank you, to everyone who takes time to visit and follow this blog. You are few but mighty and I, certainly, aprreciate your support!

The Apple Tree

Published June 12, 2012 by rlmcdermott

When I was
I was old–
a girl in a window
about to be brought
and sold by grief.

The tree across
the street
knew my name
and called
it every night
to comfort me–
a murmuring refrain
of leaf on leaf.

I asked it questions,
will I be happy,
will I find love,
will I survive,
until it could
not answer–
so overwhelmed
it ceased to sing
and stood silent.

My only friend,
that tree, stopped
singing to me
because it could
not bear my sadness;
and in the fall it fell,
yellow, gold and red,
it bent its head
and wept us both
into a living death.

To My Father (Poem by me, Drawing by my sister Patricia)

Published June 12, 2012 by rlmcdermott

What a spring that was
the season that I spent
in the hollow of your bone.
Sweet amputee, how
do I forget those sleeping
days and the sour sweat
of death against the shining
bandage of your smile.

We counted flesh like coins
that dropped from our hands
half spent–so little did you
bleed, so quite was your death.
Sweet amputee, how do I
forget those sleeping days
and the intensity of eyes
that never left my face
except to die unchallenged
while I slept.

Kyoto Botanical Garden

Published June 1, 2012 by rlmcdermott

What kind of trees
were they that
broke the color–

all tall and green
and dancing
in the slow sunlight
of an April afternoon?

Women in blue
kimonos stood
beneath the
delicate branches
snapping pictures
digital and bright.

Children played,
young mother’s
strolled, stooped
old men finished
with their lives
sat on stone benches.

An artist crouched
in a flower bed
like a wounded animal;
linen canvas stained
with a furious red.

I had come here to meet a
god and found instead a man.

We are not seen by the people we love,
but are loved by the people who see us.

That afternoon,
five thousand miles
from my home,
someone saw me
and asked where
I was from in
perfect English.