Sunday, May 6, 2012

"When Lilacs Last...

in the Dooryard Bloom'd," is Walt Whitman's elegy on the death of Lincoln.  This long poem from Leaves of Grass begins:

WHEN lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d—and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.
O ever-returning spring! trinity sure to me you bring;
Lilac blooming perennial, and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.

It ends with these lines:

For the sweetest, wisest soul of all my days and lands...and this for his dear sake;
Lilac and star and bird, twined with the chant of my soul,
There in the fragrant pines, and the cedars dusk and dim.

This poem--and lilacs--always bring to mind my mother.  She died in May several years ago, and lilacs were a riot of color then.  Thus, the sight of lilacs always remind me of Mom.

As I'm sure you are aware, the weather in New England has been unseasonably warm this past winter and spring.  So, in April, I was shocked to see lilacs blooming a month early here in Connecticut.  At the same time, I was aware that my sister wouldn't be with me much longer.   The confluence of these thoughts prompted me to write the following poem.

Lilacs bloom early this year--
Your way of comforting me?

New England  in May is
time for lilacs—that riot
of color at your grave
years ago.

Will lilacs still bloom
when both my sisters are gone?

Will joy
my heart?

Have you come to greet
your first
with fragrance
and peace?

Dress her in that gossamer
by the spider
in your nap
time story.

Lift her gently
from pain.

                        ~Joan Cole
  April, 2012

What does that have to do with the painting I posted yesterday?   I know that somehow, lilacs will appear somewhere in both of these paintings.

You saw this beginning underlayment of  horizontal 10"x20" painting in yesterday's post.

This photo was taken after further layers of pigment had been added.

 And this was as far as I had taken this painting as of 4 AM yesterday.  Despite the glare of the flash on the first two photos, I think you can see the additional layering in the the third.

Tomorrow, I hope to show you my progress on this painting and the other larger, vertical piece.  Please stay tuned.

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