Thursday, February 14, 2013

Journal Project: Love

The theme that my journal quilting group selected for this February's project was Love. I used a fairly predictable interpretation, a depiction of another Charley Harper print called "Vowlentine." I love the clean lines and geometry of his illustrations, and I really love how he used the heart shapes to represent this cozy family of barn owls.
"Vowlentine" by Charley Harper (1922-2007)
In addition, just as I was getting started on this project, my friend Mary recently shared a poem that really spoke to me, like a slightly sunnier, more nature-oriented version of Rilke:

The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

I love those last two lines so much. I am a fairly cynical and pessimistic -- sometimes nihilistic -- person, and I have really been working hard to give my boys some sense of hope and wonder in what often seems like a shitstorm of a world...these words so perfectly express my hope that they will grow into men who seek adventure and challenges, and who will recognize happiness when it hits them.

"Love" (8.5 x 11")


  1. Great poem - I like the last two lines as well, but I think even more than that I like the two before that (though they don't work so well out of context). I used to read a lot of poetry but it somehow doesn't seem to fit my life quite so well any more...

    1. I have a dark side myself, and I also like those lines. Maybe I can work them into next month's journal project; our topic is "disappointment."

      I've been having Poetry Teatime with the boys on Tuesday afternoons, which has been a great opportunity to make myself read again, and to introduce the boys to lots of favorites. My elder is enjoying Ogden Nash, and the younger is into Poe ("he's so steampunk!").