Sunday, April 18, 2021

#PoetryBreak: Farolitos

Contemplative (M.A. Reilly)


  - by Arthur Sze

    (from The New Yorker)

We pour sand into brown lunch bags, then place
            a votive candle

inside each; at night, lined along the driveway,
            the flickering lights

form a spirit way, but what spirit? what way?
            We sight the flames

and, swaying within, know the future's fathomless;
            we grieve, yearn, joy,

pinpoints in a greater darkness, and spy sunlight
            brighter craters

on a half-lit moon; in this life, you may try, try
            to light a match, fail,

fail again and again; yet, letting go, you strike
            a tip one more time

when it burst into flame--        now the flames
            are lights in bags again,

and we glimpse the willow tips clutch at a lunar
            promise of spring.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Newark in Bloom

This past week I made a few images in Branch Brook Park of the cherry blossoms.  Below are some.

Blossom 2 (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Blossom 3 (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Cathedral (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Lake (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Grove (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Reflection in Lake (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Blossom (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Dangling (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Blossoms 2 (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Cherry Blossom Trees (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Sunlight (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Water Drop (4.21, Newark, NJ)

The Photographer (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Out Walking (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Blossoms on Branch (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Poetry Break: Spring Storm by William Carlos Williams

Spring Thaw (M.A. Reilly, Ringwood, NJ)

Spring Storm

     - by William Carlos Williams

The sky has given over

its bitterness.

Out of the dark change

all day long

rain falls and falls

as if it would never end.

Still the snow keeps

its hold on the ground.

But water, water

from a thousand runnels!

It collects swiftly,

dappled with black

cuts a way for itself

through green ice in the gutters.

Drop after drop it falls

from the withered grass-stems

of the overhanging embankment.

Painting Creates Focused Energy

Making art helps me to keenly focus. Whether it is with a camera, a paintbrush, pencils, or digitally—I get lost in the work for hours. I need this. Here are a few recent works and some re”found” work. 

“Sisters” (gesso, acrylic, crayon, found papers, Stabilo pencils, white marker, 2021)

“Old Man” (acrylic paint, digital manipulation)

Untitled (watercolor, Stabilo pencil, found papers, crossword puzzle, tissue, digital manipulation, 2021)

Two pages in journal ( gesso, acrylic paint, 2021)

untitled (gesso, acrylic paste, Stabilo pencil)

“Dreaming of Kurt Schwitters” (collage, torn paper, acrylic, newspaper, found papers, digital manipulation) 

“Unmoored” (watercolor, marker, acrylic

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Poetry Break: Spring and All

Woods (M.A.Reilly)

Spring and All 

   -by William Carlos Williams 


By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast-a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines—

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches—

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind—

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined—
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance—Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken

Care: Notes from the Pandemic

Aftermath (Paterson,NJ)

One small truth emerged these last 13 months  - art reminds me of how we are human, how we are in one another's care.  In the aftermath, what seems to matter is how we cared for one another during the crisis, the challenge, the sorrow, the stress. 

What truth, idea, thought has emerged for you? What joy, if any, emerged? 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

PoetryBreak: Easter Morning in Wales


Wales (M.A.Reilly, May, 2014)


              — by David Whyte

A garden inside me, unknown, secret,

neglected for years,

the layers of its soil deep and thick,

trees in the corners with branching arms

and the tangled briars like broken nets.

Sunrise through the misted orchard,

morning sun turns silver on the pointed twigs,

I have woken from the sleep of ages and I am not sure

if I am really seeing, or dreaming,

or simply astonished

walking towards sunrise

to have stumbled into the garden

where the stone was rolled from the tomb of longing.


From RIVER FLOW: New and Selected Poems

© David Whyte and Many Rivers PressFrom ‘Time Left Alone’ 

In ‘River Flow: New and Selected Poems’

© David Whyte and Many Rivers Press

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Poetry Break: Sisyphus and the Ants


Sisyphus (M.A.Reilly, Paterson, NJ)

Sisyphus and the Ants

The story tells us Sisyphus is being punished.
Over and over he has to push that boulder

up and up. The mountain and God glaring.
And you, you have

your avalanche of moods.
Pills the size of stars to nearly quell

cascade and tumult.
And still you step

gravity amplified by incline, each hazard
in the way of the boulder a reminder

it should be easier. There should be
a hot fudge sundae at the top. A long nap in the shade.

The story forgot to tell us, though, Sisyphus thrived.

He learned to guide his wrists
and shoulder girdles safely to protect himself.

And later he worked to safeguard every insect
from here to the crest. Considers this his calling.

Even as the sun and the weight of time bears down.
Your strength is kingly.

Source: Poetry (February 2019)

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Foggy Morning in Manhattan

These were images I made while riding the ferry into New York from New Jersey last Thursday.  It has been too long since I spent a day making images. Hope you enjoy.

Deep Fog (March 2021)

Ferry Arriving (March 2021)

NYC Skyline (March 2021)

Approaching Manhattan (March 2021)

Midtown (March 2021)

Hudson River and Statue of Liberty (March 2021)

Pier (March 2021)

Hudson River Shoreline (March 2021)

Hoboken Clock Tower (March 2021)

Hoboken Clock Tower from High Line (March 2021)

Monday, March 8, 2021

#SOL21 - 5 years Later

The Atlantic, early morning


During the first week Rob was back home after 50 days in the hospital, I continued to try to save his life. It wasn’t until the Hospice nurse gently reminded that I no longer needed to check his oxygen level, that I  startled and then began to see how hopeless such an act was.  There would soon come a time when my husband no longer breathed. I carry with me the knowledge that I could not save Rob from so early a death.  I carry it imprinted on my bones like a too sad Braille reader who has lost faith in method. Great loss is a way of being in the world and so is the necessary healing. Loss and healing remain special knowledge that has translated into empathy for others. 

At first the replay of Rob's death ran like a movie I could not turn off.  Now I cannot recall the specifics of his death--not certainly with the clarity I once did.  Then slowly memories of earlier times with Rob began to replace the scene of death. I can recall the first time I dreamt of him and not his death. In the dream we are in Scotland. It is just a second of Rob at the shoreline of a loch with his long hair tied back and it is moving as he laughs at something our child had said. 

Now, five years later, the memories of the days leading up to his death are more lone photographs of scenes of darkened faces lit by a flash.  


I want to tell you five years later that loss and healing are tidy matters, but they are not. Both inform how I live. Now what saddens me most is seeing all the life that has happened in these last five years and knowing Rob missed it all. I am now older than Rob. I have lived on this planet longer than he did or ever will.  All of this makes me feel for each of the 520,000 people who have died this year from COVID 19 and their families. 

"How do you live in an age of bewilderment, when the old stories have collapsed and no new story has yet emerged to replace them?" asks Yuval Noah Harari. 

You live.
It is that simple and that complicated.