Thursday, June 28, 2012

Planting Is What We Must Do

 Honey Locust Arbor - Photo by Rita Bourland 2012

Our neighborhood is blessed with a canopy of Honey Locust Trees that shade the entire length of our street.  The original owner of our house came up with the idea of planting the trees back in 1970.  She talked to all the neighbors, gained their support for her idea, and began digging.  For over forty years the trees have stood sentinel, offering a gorgeous green awning for passersby.  We are the beneficiaries of her vision.

Planting Is What We Must Do

We plant things every day,


Opening our hands
We offer our gifts
Hoping to create something lasting,
Something beautiful,

Mighty oaks,
Lyric poems,
Words that embrace,
Songs full of grace,

Planting is what we must do
To ensure something lasting remains
For the folks
Who follow,

Opening our hands
We offer our gifts
Good things will take root.

Monday, June 18, 2012

How Could Anyplace be so Lovely?

 Columbus Arts Festival – June 2012 – Photo by Rita Bourland

How Could Anyplace be so Lovely?

Seeing the painting of the Italian village dipping its toes into the sea transported me.   How could any place be so lovely, I thought? 

I envisioned myself strolling down the cobblestone lanes with a basket over my arm, stopping to talk to fishermen and carefully choosing from their catch for my evening meal.   I would purchase some freshly baked bread and a small pastry for dessert from the local bakery.  From a street vendor I would find ripe berries kissed by the sun and tomatoes plucked from the vines that very day.  The owner of a small shop would help me select wine and cheese, adding a flower from a vase and a cheerful ‘Ciao!’ as I walked out the door.  So sublime to be in a place of such beauty, where the sun sparkles through puffy white clouds and the day seems to go on forever.  

Shaking myself from my reverie, I backed up a few paces and then I saw it. 

Framing the artist’s booth was the skyline of my fair city.  Puffy white clouds floated by, the sun delivered rays of warmth and the river floated by just steps away.  The day offered surprises around every corner.  Food booths beckoned with international delicacies, one-of-a-kind ice cream (Jeni’s) and sugary festival food.  Musicians performed, poets read, mimes strolled and people smiled in languid enjoyment of the day.  How could anyplace be so lovely, I thought? 

And then I snapped the picture.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

If Only we had Known - Inspired by the art of A.E. London

‘Patriarch’ by A.E. London
Photographed by Rita Bourland at the Columbus Art’s Festival

This is the second in my series of posts based on art I photographed at the Columbus Art’s Festival.  When I passed the booth for A.E. London, I was stunned by the beauty of her work.  I found it haunting, direct, soulful and raw.  There was something in the lion’s eyes that simultaneously mesmerized me and made me want to cry.  Anne (A.E.) let me photograph one of her pieces and I chose this one entitled ‘Patriarch’.  Please visit her website where you will learn more about her techniques (this picture includes the use of coffee), her trips to Africa, her work for endangered species and her ongoing pursuit of artistic expression.  Her website is really gorgeous.   Below you will find my poem inspired by her art.

If Only We Had Known

Anger grows
As I contemplate the fate
Of creatures who roam
Far off lands,

Never dreaming their life
Might fall to a force
Mightier than their roar,

Man broaching their land,
Seeking power over beasts
Of the earth,

Not sensing that extinction
Of one species
Might be a harbinger
Of something larger,
 Might be a sign
Of something so severe
That all powers, all prayers,
Will fail to amend the loss,

If only we had known
The dominoes would fall,
We might have stacked them
Far from the animals
Whose souls
So mirror our own,

If only we had known.

Here's a video of A.E. London at work.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Mighty Perch - inspired by the art of Ella Richards

 Artwork by Ella Richards
Photographed by Rita Bourland

The weekend of June 2nd I attended the Columbus Arts Festival.  Over two days I visited many of the 200+ artists’ booths.  I conversed, took pictures and got permission to use some of my favorites for my blog. 
Over the next couple of weeks, I will share a piece of art and write a poem or story inspired by the artist’s creation.  The picture above was done by Ella Richards of Greenwich Village, NY.  She meticulously cuts her drawings out of black paper then glues them onto white paper using a special Japanese glue pen.  The results are monochromatic and powerful.  The picture above is behind glass.  For more information about her process or to purchase her art, please go to her website.  She is a gifted artist.  Here is my poem inspired by her art:

My Mighty Perch

I’ve come too far to fail,
Scaling the mountain was the goal,
No one told me the descent would
Be so treacherous,

Victorious I viewed my elevated
Status with glee,

On bended knee I vowed to never
Again be lowered,
Unequal in a world where tallness
Means power,

So much to see and learn
From my mighty perch,
A feeling I want to know,
To own,

But I need to get down
and there’s no one around,
I guess I’ll just give
A loud holler,

I’ll wait to scale mountains
‘til I’m a bit older,
By then I’ll know
More about power.