Some art for August:
I. Redwood Haiku for Judy:
rising, massive trunk
reaching through clouds to the sky
feeling its power
II. August -- by Mary Oliver:
In 1999 I wrote a song cycle for mezzo soprano Sherri Weiler and pianist Juliana Osinchuk, called Summer Songs. The cycle set three poems by Pulitizer Prize-winning poet, Mary Oliver.
The first of the three, August, runs through my mind every year when I come down to Washington State in early August, to visit family and friends. We often pick blackberries, which Judy mixes with our own raspberries back in Alaska, to make the most yummy jam in the world.
Here is Mary Oliver's poem:
When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend
all day among the high
my ripped arms, thinking
of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body
accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among
the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.
And here is my setting of her poem, sung by Sherri Weiler, accompanied by Juliana Osinchuk.