All About The Sky

As I stated in an earlier post, I am just beginning my watercolor painting journey, so don’t expect professional quality. That being said…

These two watercolor paintings were done for a class, its purpose to illustrate that a clear sky doesn’t have to be blue, especially when its the focal point. I must say, the yellow sky makes the entire picture more dramatic.

Dramatic Sky
Simple Sky

Though I do like the simplicity of the small boat bobbing on a blue sea under a blue sky. To me, it has an allover calming effect.

©2021 KT Workman

To Soar

To soar
Above it all
Be as the lone eagle
Free of earthly ties that strangle
A life

A life
Unborn, wings clipped
By karma’s unkind teeth
Fell from the nest too soon onto
Fate’s ground

Fate’s ground
Strewn with fierce rocks
Seeded in thorns and glass
Where nothing can grow…or spread wings
And fly

And fly
Unchained, unleashed,
Unshackled, unfettered,
Unrestrained, unconfined, unbound
…uncaged

Uncaged—
I long to be
Foot loose and fancy-free
Sailing winds of my own making
To soar…

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: Crown Cinquain—a series of 5 (entire) Crapsey Cinquains, 25 lines total. Syllable count 2-4-6-8-2 in each stanza; written with breaks between stanzas. Rhyme is optional. The last line of the previous cinquain is repeated as the first line of the next cinquain. The final line of the last cinquain does not have to equal the first line of the first cinquain, but is optional.)

Credit for the definition goes to Abigail Gronway at Dark Side of the Moon.


Image by Ondřej Šponiar from Pixabay

Arguing With Ghosts

Gretchen Peters first became known to me when I saw the video of her song “Blackbirds” on YouTube four or five years ago. I liked the song so well, I downloaded the same-titled album from Amazon Prime (for free!).

Since then, I have learned she has been a songwriter for years, with some of the best-known names in Nashville of the late 1900s and early 2000s recording her songs. Her most famous song is probably “Independence Day” (Try watching this without tearing up.), recorded by Martina McBride; it won CMA Song of the Year in 1995.

Though better known for her writing, Ms. Peters has released quite a few albums of her own.

She was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame on October 5, 2004. In 2021, she received the Poets Award from the Academy of Country Music—a much-deserved award because, in my opinion, all her songs are poems.

Ms. Peters has a hauntingly beautiful voice that pairs well with all of her work, which most often evokes sadness, longing, regret, and resignation. Some, like "Blackbirds" and "Independence Day," tell a story.

I hope you listen to “Arguing With Ghosts.” Those among us who have a lot of years behind us can empathize with its lyrics.

©2121 KT Workman

The Wishing Well

In the depths of the wishing well
Dwells the girl of my youthful dreams.
Barnacled lips hold in her screams.

The scummy water tastes like hell.
Stagnant with time, do not swallow
Or more regrets will surely follow.

Ebbing inside her are raw swells
That crash against her cold, closed heart,
Which years ago, misplaced its chart.

“Keep her safe,” says her hard shell.
“Leech her eyes so she cannot see
The life she had been meant to lead.”

As the darkness weaves its sad spell,
She and I bar the hurtful gates,
While wishing for a kinder fate.

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: The Constanza, created by Connie Marcum Wong, consists of five or more 3-line stanzas. Each line has a set meter of eight syllables. The first lines of all the stanzas can be read successively as an independent poem, with the rest of the poem weaved in to express a deeper meaning. The first lines convey a theme written in monorhyme, while the second and third lines of each stanza rhyme together. Rhyme scheme: a-b-b, a-c-c, a-d-d, a-e-e, a-f-f. Definition taken from Poets Collective. Introduction – Poetry Forms (poetscollective.org)


Image by Britannic Zane from Pixabay

A Road to Somewhere

I can’t say why, but this watercolor I did a while back for a class is one of my favorites of all the good, passable, bad, and downright ugly paintings I have done over the last several months. It’s a keeper. To me, it has a certain mystery about it. Does the road take us to a pleasant place, perhaps a farmhouse where we can sit on the porch and drink sweet iced tea while watching the sun go down; or instead (how my mind tends to wander), leads to a run-down shed that has a meat hook hanging from the ceiling, saws and knives laid out on an old wooden bench, and puddles of dark stains on the dirt floor? I suppose, like most things in life, perception is all in the mind of the beholder.

©️2021 KT Workman

The Hatchling

I dreamed it, and now it’s mine...

The vile thing cries out from under the bed, demanding to be fed when I nurse Mikey. I try to ignore it, but I’m its mother, and I can’t.

I can’t! Lord knows I’ve tried.

Its garbled screeching affects me every bit as much as Mikey’s soft cries. I can’t deny it substance. So, I gather its scaly body to my breast, hot pain piercing my nipple as its teeth sink in, and it feeds, first on my milk, then my blood.

#

It’s growing much faster than Mikey, barely two weeks old and already crawling. How long before it walks? How long before it climbs unaided into bed with me? How long before it can clamber up the side of Mikey’s crib?

Before I grow too weak from blood loss, I have to kill it.

#

I have the knife in my hand. I can do this.

Freshly fed, stomach full of my milk and blood, it’s sleeping in its dark nest under my bed. Now is the time.

I hunker to my knees, raise the knife, and slowly lift the dust ruffle. The ugly, lumpy thing lies on its side facing me. Its long pink tail curled over its eyes tells me it is sleeping.

Mikey whimpers. I glance over my shoulder, lay a finger over my lips, “Shh," then turn back to my other son—

And see a dark blur of movement, angry red eyes, and a huge, suckered mouth full of needle teeth. Then pain—oh god, the pain—and darkness as those teeth close over my face. And rip.

©2021 KT Workman

Image by vargazs from Pixabay

Friendship Oak

On a trip to Long Beach, Mississippi a couple of years ago with two of my traveling buddies, we spied this humongous tree on the side of a large building (which turned out to be the Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Campus), and decided to have a closer look.

This sign was posted at the entrance.
We were amazed by its size!
It was roped off, so this was a close as we could get.

After returning home, I learned that as of 2011, this tree stood 59 feet high, and had a circumference of 19.8 feet. Throughout its long life, it has survived hurricane winds that have stripped it of its leaves, and has had its roots saturated with seawater from storm surges from the Gulf of Mexico. At least twice since the 1950s, acorns have been gathered for seedlings for replanting along the Mississippi Gulf Coast to replace the live oaks that were destroyed by Hurricanes Camille and Katrina.

A view of the Gulf from the front of the campus.

The Turn

For we mere mortals, the apathetic world keeps turning.
Fanatical time goose-steps forward, ever forward,
leaving behind wrinkles and gray hair, aches and pains.
And a cautious wistfulness takes root in our hearts, 
to turn back the clock, to be granted a do-over.
But Father Time—or perhaps, Mother Time—heeds no one.

If I could be granted a wish, a single solitary wish—just one,
this old Earth would spin backward, until it reached the turn
where I took the path through the easy valley instead over
yon rock-strewn hill. The green valley lay forward,
it’s way smooth and grassy, no challenge to home and heart.
The hill looked enormous, formidable, so I fled from the pain

that can transpire with a challenge met, for the nature of pain
makes one shun an operose endeavor. And not one
to take the more difficult way, I tucked away my heart.
I locked all the doors, ignored the wary words turning
somersaults in my imagination, pushing forward 
against my closed mind. In time, they played dead, rolled over.

Time swept away my eagle’s voice, raucous cries now over.
No sound escaped; even attempting to call out caused pain.
The eagle I was meant to be, folded her wings; forward
momentum ceased. Once multiple paths became only one.
The words became memories as the world turned and turned.
But inside the raging silence, a hatchling stole my heart.

The hatchling became a nestling, then fledgling, bold of heart,
Flew away from a nest that grew cold, its purpose now over.
Then, inside the raw silence, words woke, twisted, twined, and turned,
Called out to the comatose eagle, wakened the pain
of a repressed voice that had grown rusty with age. “You are one
once more,” spoke the words. “The time has come to fly forward.”

Now the eagle shouts her words. Body time-worn she pushes forward,
For though a day late and a dollar short, she still has heart.
Time may march on, train-wreck the body, but silences no one.
If the words are yet on life support, they can be warmed over,
the chill chased away, freeing vocals of moth-eaten pain
that withers the soul when what it is meant to be is overturned.

The eagle in me soars forward, my words far from over.
Letters flourish in my heart, dulls old age’s constant pain.
At long last I am the one I was before I missed the turn.

©2021 KT Workman


(Note: The sestina is a strict ordered form of poetry, dating back to twelfth century French troubadours. It consists of six 6-line (sestets) stanzas followed by a 3-line envoy. Rather than use a rhyme scheme, the six ending words of the first stanza are repeated as the ending words of the other five stanzas in a set pattern. The envoy uses two of the ending words per line, again in a set pattern.

First stanza,..1 ..2 ..3 ..4 ..5 ..6

Second stanza, ..6 ..1 ..5 .. 2 ..4 ..3

Third stanza, ..3 ..6 ..4 ..1 ..2 ..5

Fourth stanza, ..5 ..3 ..2 ..6 ..1 ..4

Fifth stanza, ..4 ..5 ..1 ..3 ..6 ..2

Sixth stanza, ..2 ..4 ..6 ..5 ..3 ..1

Concluding tercet:

middle of first line ..2, end of first line ..5

middle of second line ..4, end of second line..3

middle if third line ..6, end of third line ..1)

Definition of a sestina taken from http://www.shadowpoetry.com/


Image by suju-foto from Pixabay

Winter in August

This is a simple monochromatic watercolor painting of a winter scene I did for my class a couple months ago. Only one color was used, raw umber muddied down a little using neutral tint. The point of this lesson was to let the watercolor paper serve as the color white. And on this early-August day here in the South, I have to say all that snow looks pretty darn good.


tanka #3

red-gold cannot stay
frost ices flaming tresses
as winter creeps in
through autumn’s unguarded door
forging fire into silver

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: A tanka is a form of Japanese poetry made up of 5 lines containing 31 syllables. The 1st line has 5 syllables; 2nd, 7 syllables; 3rd, 5 syllables; 4th, 7 syllables; 5th, 7 syllables. It can have any theme.)


Image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay