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Gertrude Fiske (1878-1961) American Impressionist Painter ~ Blog of an Art Admirer

Gertrude Fiske, American Impressionist

All My Body Calls

All my body calls
for something in this sleeping
we call the spirit.

But how
from lifted arms
where stars run through fingers
and the night is like sand
do I breathe a fragrance of its wisdom
do I call its name
or listen to the drops
that trickle down to earth
and hear
life being given
not only through the moving hands of the forest
but through the hand that reaches in
the dark unmoving regions of the chest
and uncovers slowly
the enormous
shape of the ocean.

by David Whyte

Fallen in Love

That day I saw beneath dark clouds
the passing light over the water
and I heard the voice of the world speak out,
I knew then, as I had before
life is no passing memory of what has been
nor the remaining pages in a great book
waiting to be read.

It is the opening of eyes long closed.
It is the vision of far off things
seen for the silence they hold.
It is the heart after years
of secret conversing
speaking out loud in the clear air.

It is Moses in the desert
fallen to his knees before the lit bush.
It is the man throwing away his shoes
as if to enter heaven
and finding himself astonished,
opened at last,
fallen in love with solid ground.

by David Whyte

What struck me in the poems and the painting is that “something in this sleeping earth” that we are only half-awake to, what Whyte calls “spirit.” I see that spirit clearly in the painting by Friske, the two women immersed in the forest, in that yellow-green light, in those parting branches, those “moving hands.”

And in the second poem, that sense that there’s nothing to wait for, it’s all out here in the open, “speaking out loud in the clear air,”  as solid and humble and astonishing as the ground beneath our bare feet.

In another poem, Whyte writes:

Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.

What are we waiting for? Especially in these trying times.

All times are trying. All lives are trying. We have to grasp, right here, right now, despite all that, what’s waiting half-hidden all around us this very moment.

Many thanks to The Beauty We Love where I found these poems, and to The Uncarved Blog who shared two wondrous poems by Stephen Levine and pointed me toward this site. It’s one of the things I love about blogging, finding these hidden treasures that speak so eloquently to things I feel and cannot say.