Archive for August 2021

Horse (Sonnet)

August 28, 2021
Horse Lying Down in Field


You see an old horse lying in a field
and after the alarm–is he okay?
think of your grandmother, how she wielded,
you were told, frayed rope and a cock-eyed pulley–
nothing that they owned worked right–to try
to keep a beloved horse on all fours,
believing that if he laid down, he would die,
but if they kept him up the night and more,
up, upon his hooves, all would be well. 

First, she swayed him high with her own arms,
but he was a horse. So, as he knelt,
she resorted to the hoists, as if charms
against gravity could ward off death.
How she wept, you were told, at his last breath. 


Here’s a little sonnet about a horse resting in a field and also about my grandmother, who loved horses.  A few years ago, I wrote another poem about this same story, called Colonel, that may be found here

Global Sadness

August 27, 2021

Dear all, 

Another week nearly done.  A hard one. The world flooding with calamity, need, storms; the world aflame with arms, anger, fire. 

If you are in a physically quiet place, it feels like a good time to just sit still.  Although one also feels guilty, just sitting still.  

But the daily flow of events is overwhelming–a part of me tries to limit some of obsession with news, but that’s almost impossible.  There’s a part that just that–obsession.  But one also feels the importance of knowing what is going on in such difficult times; that the times deserve one’s attention. 

Those lost in Kabul yesterday deserve sadness, even as some of us would like to just not think about it. Those lost currently to Covid deserve sadness, even though some are tempted to opt for blame rather than pain.

It can feel particularly strange to grieve for others when one is conscious of great personal luck; when one feels almost artificial to feel sadness from a perch of relative stability, contentment. (Though, of course, even the luckiest among us has, or will have, or has had, some deep personal pain.  It’s how life is.)  

I don’t know what to say next, only that I don’t think it’s artificial to feel that collective sadness; I don’t know how else connection happens. 

Special Cow Training

August 26, 2021
(Moon Jump)

As always, all rights reserved–Have a good day!


August 25, 2021

This morning feet crossed my mind. Slightly aching feet. 

The pandemic has not been kind to my feet–not because I have walked so much more than normal, but because my online shoe shopping has proved less and less successful. (Feet feel trivial, I know, until they’re your feet.) 

To tell the truth, my foot problems started before the pandemic. Try the fifth grade, when my feet became size 10.

My feet also, at that time, became officially persona non grata.  I did not, in other words, even try to make them feel welcome.

I mean, come on.  Even if stores back then carried a nice style in size 10, the style would somehow lose its elan (especially when attached to fifth grade ankles.)

As time passed, my feet only grew stranger.  I discovered that they had extra bones; also, that, when combined with my favorite exercise programs, they were prone to bruised metatarsals, pulled tendons, plantar fascitis, bunions, split-skinned heels, the source of knee problems. 

Then, at last, I found a shoe that worked. Yes, they made my feet look like hooves. But I could wear them with dresses!  And walk miles!  

The company quickly went out of business. 

Okay, okay, but this was already the age of the internet! I bought up every pair I could find. Six or seven years worth!

That, sadly, was about ten years ago. 

Which brings me to the present. 

Suffice it to say that I now have enough ill-fitting shoes that I can rotate them over a few days. Which means I can move on to the next bad pair before whatever is wrong with this one becomes incapacitating.

And when I am really really in trouble, I wear some thick red boots that I bought mainly to use around Christmas, but now wear in August.  They are not great for walking miles, but…well, we manage. I would not call them ruby slippers, but they do make me feel a little bit witchy, and that can feel just right some times.    

Have a good day.

(As always, all rights reserved, 2021.)

Little Elephants/Last Days

August 23, 2021

I was going to write today about some of the benefits of using an iPad Pro for drawing illustrations.  I even dreamed of this topic (or at least thought about it muzzily as I lay in bed.)   I was going to write about how drawing on paper is so much more fluid and original; how when I can get the courage up to add color (inks or soft pastel or some kind of paint), those paper pieces can be so much more rich and complex, but how I still often end up using the iPad Pro for illustrations, because the iPad, unlike inks, soft pastels, paint, can be readily used in a bed. (You may be sensing a pattern here.)  Perhaps, more importantly, the  iPad does a lot to mitigate the need for both courage and patience.  

An example of how the iPad can help to make an illustration can be found in the the little elephants above (completed on the iPad), and the unfinished paper sketch of the same little elephants below. (This was the basis for the iPad drawing.) 

But in the middle of thinking about these elephant drawings, I remembered that today was the beginning of the week of my mother’s death, which essentially lasted this whole week, some years ago. (My mother, at the end of her life, by the way, loved the iPad Pro; mainly for youtube algorhythms. I could type in a piece of music I thought she’d like and youtube would take her to another and another. It felt like magic to her, or, perhaps, a really good TV channel.)  

Though  when I think of my mother’s death week, I don’t think of the iPad. Rather I think of how she and I, and the rest of us too, rose to our best selves,  of how death can sometimes do that.  (I think of the way people speak so eloquently at funerals. How they often seem to transcend some inhibition, some self-consciousness, that dogs their normal speech.)

In my mother’s case, the nearness of death brought out a great generosity.  Yes, pain medication may have assisted, but a true shine was also there, as she made sure to thank everyone who came her way; to express deep gratitude, and in the case of each family member, a profound and specific love. 

In my case, the nearness of her death (temporarily) undid my will to avoid the moment, that endless bargaining with time. This morning, remembering it, I congratulated myself for calling up various family members from a hot Florida sidewalk as I took a break from the freezing hospital–to let them know that if they wanted to see my mother, that is, talk to her, they needed to come now.  When the option of much more convenient weekend flights came up–me, who typically tries to make things work for others as they would have them work, simply said that they should do what they could, shouldn’t feel like they had to come, but that if they wanted to see her, that is, talk to her, they had to come now.

And they did come. I don’t know how they managed it, but they too seized the moment.  And they did get to talk with her, and they would not have been able to wait. 

I feel so sorry, as I re-read this, to think of all those whose family members died of Covid, who did not have the togetherness of last days. 

It is raining steadily here. Through the upper part of the window, it looks beautiful, soft grays and greens, and the sounds of the rain, very gentle now, feel merciful.  Through the lower part of the window, though, are channels of brown water that have taken over the driveway and, most likely, the roads.  


August 22, 2021

Hello!  The edge of hurricane Henri is expected to swipe by us today, dumping rain.  I don’t truly mind rain, and will be glad if that is all that Henri brings us.  But the crazy thing–and one I don’t like–ir has been raining here much of the summer. And, in general, in the last few summers.

 I live in a mountain area of Nw York State, and we have gotten some clear dryish mountain days, but increasingly, lawns and fields are squishy, or pooling, with water and mud from so much summer rain, and increasingly, the downpours are spliced with sullen spells of unusually heavy heat. I say that it’s unusual, but it is increasingly becoming the norm. 

And because the air is hotter, it holds more moisture, except of course, where it doesn’t, such as out West and all those other places burning up with drought.

So, oddly, the planet is burning, and flooding at once. And in the meantime, we manage to fight over so many silly things, when our little boat, this planet, needs bailing and more.

Oh dear. I had intended not to get political in this blog.  But climate change may be something that should transcend politics. 

Stay well.  Stay safe/dry today. 

A Dose of Cuteness (I hope, the Clunky Kind)

August 21, 2021

I thought I would post a little dose of cuteness today: cute little ponies meeting each other in a barely fenced field, seemingly not bothered by cute little cars and trucks zooming by (one with giraffe, one with elephant.) The scale is completely out of whack–some snails and bunnies almost the size of the big rigs–but that doesn’t seem to matter in terms of overall effect, to the extent that the drawing has one.

Still, the drawing set me thinking about cuteness. I have a soft spot for it (as anyone who knows my pics can attest.) Even if I try to do more “serious” art, the eyebrows start to take a certain bemused tilt, the buildings a certain curvature, and cuteness makes its imprint.

However, I recently heard a program on the BBC about young Chinese women newly flocking to plastic surgery–nose jobs, eye widening, and even the slight pointing of their ears; all designed to make their faces look slimmer, but also, apparently, more like the faces of Manga figures.

Which made me think a bit about the different kinds of cuteness–clunky cuteness–the cuteness of an old lady in a lavender hat or a child in a hastily homemade Halloween costume–and slick cuteness, which (in my mind) tends to be commercial, treacly, slick. Commercial cuteness also seems caught in stereotype, while the clunky kind may try to mimic a stereotype, but somehow falls short, due to awkwardness, or some other (to my mind) happy accident.

So, here’s a dose, I hope, of clunky cuteness. Have a good day.

What Some Days/Times Feel Like

August 20, 2021

All rights reserved.

Do These Look Anything Like Wolves?

August 19, 2021

Hello again! Here’s a sketch for a new children’s book I am working on, called, possibly, Bug Cars. I’m not sure if the wolves look like wolves yet though! Or if the clouds look like clouds for that matter. Have a good day!

As always, all rights reserved.


August 18, 2021
Time Flies

Dear Bloggingverse!

I have missed you!  It has been a hard five years or so since I last posted regularly.  I hope to start again. For those who have kept in touch, I thank you very much.  And for those who haven’t kept in touch, I hope there’s something interesting I can come up with that will get you back!

I may well start with drawings. There is an old saw that time flies when you are having fun, but I hate to say that time flies whatever you are doing! Twenty years in Afghanistan. Very sad. (My plan, by the way, is not to make this blog political, but it’s hard to take one’s mind away from the news of the last few days, no matter one’s views.)

At any rate, I hope very much you are well, however fast or slow time is flying where you are. Thanks.

All rights reserved on art, text.