poem in pictures: river. tree. lizard. knee

look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better

Albert Einstein

guadalupe state park, hill country, texas

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cypress trees with knees

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d. ellis phelps is the author of Making Room for George, Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press, 2016:  a tender love story about family and one woman’s journey toward her true self.  Free for kindle unlimited users.  Softcover available for Prime shipping.

ode to the snout-nosed butterfly

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if you live south

look out

look out

you might demise

this little snout

i must have split

poor little wings

a thousand times

such fragile things

~

yet slicing through

these clouds of life

i thought to stop

upon the side

of littered roads

with bodies thin

& hold       one

death

against my skin

 

(c) d. ellis phelps

Snout-nosed butterflies have been migrating south through San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country for the past few days. High summer temperatures and drought plus recent  rains have caused the exact right climate for this phenomenon. The last time it occurred was in 2012. 

As I drove to lunch with a friend today, killing probably hundreds of these delicate creatures, their bodies, sacrificial on my windshield, on the grill of my GMC, I cringed & wondered how it might change our world (my world) if, when this kind of natural phenomenon occurs, we would stop:  declare a national holiday, pull up chairs beside the road, in the forests and witness, in reverie, these powerful mysteries happening right before our eyes.  

leonard-cohen-portrait-by-bill-strain-via-cc

image:  “Leonard Cohen” used by permission of Bill Strain via Creative Commons.  Rights reserved.

Suggested Reading

the beginning of change is always a new idea…   When I asked other formidable women to list for me titles of books they have read that empowered them, gave them courage to change,…

Source: Suggested Reading

new publications: art & poetry

 

how many painters does it take to change a nation 12X12 in mm on paper 2016

how many painters does it take to change a nation 12X12″ mm on paper, 2016 (c) d. ellis phelps

Voices de la Luna

A San Antonio based, Quarterly Literature & Arts magazine has published this painting and one of the poems I wrote for the  Tupelo Press 30/30 Project in March, 2016.

These two pieces represent the beginnings of an increasingly political bent in my art & writing.  To my surprise, the painting has sold.  So much for trying to “make things pretty” when they are decidedly not.

Here you see the matriarchal warrior goddess questioning:  how many painters does it take to change a nation; how many $ does it take to trump justice.

It is not simply a female leader we need.  It is a compassionate, honest, dignified, just, intelligent leader (of any gender) we need.  & since the populace seems blinded and deceived by drama and captivated by fear, I wonder what kind of cataclysmic event it will take to bring us again to our metaphorical knees or whether All that is Whole and Good and Pure and True will move us to redemption.

How does Great Spirit move in you?  This is how it moves in me:

if 

i had attended

the workshop

i would have missed

this:

visitation of cranes

follow this link to read the rest of the poem in Voices

 

 

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.

"jesu" 15X11" watercolor on paper unframed, circa 1995.  $150
“jesu” 15X11″ watercolor on paper unframed, circa 1995. $150

Though my spirituality has morphed and evolved into a very broad, multi-faith practice, the mantra-prayer I use most often, especially when I am experiencing fear, is “Lord have mercy.  Christ have mercy.”

In 1995, my mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer and underwent surgery.

As I sat in her apartment, she in the hospital recovering, me waiting for the day I could bring her home, coming back and forth from the hospital, not knowing how much longer she would live or if the surgery was successful.

I came as close as I had until then to recognizing her mortality and my own.

I felt frozen.

I sat at her table, her things all around me, but not her.

I pulled out my paints, these I’d brought with me because from the beginning of my artistic journey, I knew this was how Spirit would speak to me, how I would listen.

Not anticipating any image but just allowing the paint to flow onto the paper, connecting, praying, “Lord have mercy; Christ have mercy” for my mother, for myself, this image emerged.

In that moment, I felt as close to this teacher/healer as I have ever felt, knowing the Essential Energy of his work in the world was fully present to me then, as I know it is now.

Today, I use many other equally powerful mantras and memorized prayers, some from the Christian tradition and some not, but the one element that remains steadfast as essential to my connectedness with the Whole, with Great Spirit is what I now call the christ, the essential truth of being.  Mercy.  Mercy is Lord.  Gentleness.  Care.  Compassion.  Being and living into these qualities day by day.

What prayers sustain you?  Do you use affirmation?

Let us gather here in a community of gentleness, sustaining one another as we enter this season of darkness returning to the Light.

Aho!

loose woman:  #art & #life

image: sketch from a couple of days ago in my journal

This loose woman and many others like her have peppered the pages of my journals for years like sirens, luring me into the dangerous waters of artistic transformation.

Some have become manifest in more rigid forms, morphed into spirit guides bringing messages, heralds of truth.

But these images are more abstract, less full of words, more pure imagining, fanciful, and fun!

I wonder:  what would this life, this art look like?  How would it change me..

Can I let go of what I have known, ask the “Little Baptist Girl” shadow to rest, release her Puritainistic, patriarchal  hold on my psyche and let this wild, loose woman have her way with me?

Can I trust that SHE too is holy?  Can I allow Her sensuous vulnerability to pull me into the dark waters of the unknown?

piles, prints, paths: a poem in pictures

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…neither technique nor talent matters half as much as deconditioning the eye from looking-at to seeing.

Frederick Frank

d. ellis phelps is the author of Making Room for George, Balboa Press, 2013.

self portrait: a poem in pictures



Give your body an hour a day. If it’snot worth an hour a day, there’s nothing your body can tell you and not much anyone else can do.

Marion Woodman

leaning post

barbed wire



fallen oak



thorned vine



prickly pear



dry. red. grass.



d. ellis phelps is the author of Making Room for George, Balboa Press 2013.

#RRBC An Interview with #IndieAuthor Mary C. Simmons: Part One

Scars Self-Portrait Run Jane Foximage:  “Scars Self-portrait” by Run Jane Fox. Used with permission via Creative Commons.

What happens in this eco-fantasy happens in reality: women stand up for their sanity and autonomy (with help or without it);…

D. Ellis Phelps

From page one of Corvus Rising, I was enchanted, its pages calling me into the world of dreams & of wildness and justice reclaimed.  As I read, I wondered how much of the story was autobiography written as engaging fiction and whether or not the strong social commentary I was reading was aligned with the author’s own opinion.  So, I wrote my questions down as I read and corresponded with Ms. Simmons regarding an interview.  She graciously agreed.

I anticipated a juicy dialogue and I am not disappointed.  I will be posting our interview in parts over the next few days.  I hope you enjoy getting to know Mary C. Simmons as much as I have.  Read on…

D:   Are you a “woman of faith?” If so, would you describe your faith? If not, can you describe your cosmology?

Mary:  I am a woman of faith.

But I am not a woman of religion, in spite of my upbringing in catholic schools and church. My mother’s catholic family emigrated from Northern Ireland, and my father’s from Poland—there is no country on Earth more catholic than Poland….my father’s sister was a nun, could speak fluent Polish, had a PhD in theology and was Pope John Paul’s liaison to the US for a while.

I don’t go to church, but have all kinds of time for the teachings of Jesus.

While I was in geology graduate school, I was fortunate enough to be a crew member on a river trip in the Grand Canyon, which mostly amounted to cooking for a group of twenty-two men from an organization called Young Life, which is a Christian group that outreaches to youth.

Sunrise at Grand Canyon Florian F via Flickr

image:  “Sunrise at Grand Canyon.” Used with permission of the artist, Florian F. via Creative Commons.

I learned that you can cook just about anything in a Dutch Oven, when the captain of my boat baked me a birthday cake in one. Eight coals in the top is all it takes.

Food is a big deal in the Grand Canyon. For five days you’re hundreds of feet below the known surface, a long way from anywhere in any direction. Food service, then is huge. Breakfast, lunch, snacks in between, and dinner.

Enchiladas, Beef Stroganoff, Lasagna.

We geologists thought these twenty-two men were pretty weird with their noses stuck in Bibles after dinner rather than gazing in awe and wonder at the five hundred million years of time towering above us, pygmies as we were in the scale of a half billion years of rocks.

stargazin zach dischen flickr

image:  “Stargazin”  by Zach Dischner.  Used with  permission via Creative Commons.

I had a few discussions with the two younger men on the trip, and one of them said: “Jesus gave but one commandment for us: Love One Another. There is nothing in the Bible about excepting anyone from that love…”

As a person who has studied geology, I cannot make a distinction between the Creator and the Creation. I love the Earth, the animals and plants, the rocks and water, landscape and sky. This is my temple.

This is my faith, my religion, and in this Creation, I too speak the language of God.

Wonders Never Will Cease

image:  “Wonders Will Never Cease” by Brian Wolfe.  Used with permission via Creative Commons.

Look for the rest of Mary’s interview with me, appearing in parts over the next few days.  In the meantime, I wonder:  Where do you speak “the language of God?”