Saturday, March 21, 2015



grey limbs fraught with cherished blossoms 
embrace and lift the overcast 

dark with damp a treetrunk gestures 
a partner inked upon the pond 

the way a longing throws a shadow 
across the features of your love

Text and Photos: ©2015 Ravenna Taylor

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"Evidence," by Mary Oliver

©2015 Ravenna Taylor, Wichechoke Creek, Delaware Township, New Jersey


Mary Oliver


Where do I live? If I had no address, as many people
do not, I could nevertheless say that I lived in the
same town as the lilies of the field, and the still

Spring, and all through the neighborhood now there are
strong men tending flowers.

Beauty without purpose is beauty without virtue. But
all beautiful things, inherently, have this function—
to excite the viewers toward sublime thought. Glory
to the world, that good teacher.

Among the swans there is none called the least, or
the greatest.

I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in
singing, especially when singing is not necessarily

As for the body, it is solid and strong and curious
and full of detail; it wants to polish itself; it
wants to love another body; it is the only vessel in
the world that can hold, in a mix of power and
sweetness: words, song, gesture, passion, ideas,
ingenuity, devotion, merriment, vanity, and virtue.

Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.


There are many ways to perish, or to flourish.

How old pain, for example, can stall us at the
threshold of function.

Memory: a golden bowl, or a basement without light.

For which reason the nightmare comes with its
painful story and says: you need to know this.

Some memories I would give anything to forget.
Others I would not give up upon the point of
death, they are the bright hawks of my life.

Still, friends, consider stone, that is without
the fret of gravity, and water that is without

And the pine trees that never forget their
recipe for renewal.

And the female wood duck who is looking this way
and that way for her children. And the snapping
turtle who is looking this way and that way also.
This is the world.

And consider, always, every day, the determination
of the grass to grow despite the unending obstacles.

I ask you again: if you have not been enchanted by
this adventure—your life—what would do for

And, where are you, with your ears bagged down
as if with packets of sand? Listen. We all
have much more listening to do. Tear the sand
away. And listen. The river is singing.

What blackboard could ever be invented that
could hold all the zeros of eternity?

Let me put it this way—if you disdain the
cobbler may I assume you walk barefoot?

Last week I met the so-called deranged man
who lives in the woods. He was walking with
great care, so as not to step on any small,
living thing.

For myself, I have walked in these woods for
more than forty years, and I am the only
thing, it seems, that is about to be used up.
Or, to be less extravagant, will, in the
foreseeable future, be used up.

First, though, I want to step out into some
fresh morning and look around and hear myself
crying out:  "The house of money is falling! The house of money is falling! The weeds are rising!
The weeds are rising!"

From the collection "Evidence," ©2009 Mary Oliver, Beacon Press 

©2015 Ravenna Taylor, "Glimmer," oil on paper with collaged fabric, 22.5 x 27 inches - see more:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"Many Rivers," twelve oil paintings

Thanks to Joe Walentini and his online Galerie Cerulean, I am presenting a new cycle of work in an exhibition I title "Many Rivers." If you will follow the link to the website, please click on the first image of three announcing my show, which will take you to a full page of twelve (you'll need to scroll both horizontally and vertically to see them all). If you click on any one of those, they will all open larger, with captions providing titles, dimensions, etc, in a single column which scrolls vertically.

©2015 Ravenna Taylor, "Springhead," oil on paper, 30 x 22.5 inches

The paintings have been executed in oil paint, mostly on the paper called Arches Huiles, which is formulated for oil paints and solvents without the need for priming. I enjoy this immediacy, and the sensations of paper, the mix of drawing, fluid wash, stain and brushwork, the imperatives of my materials.

The reference to rivers grounds my intention in the dominant feature of the place where I live, as well as my ongoing preoccupation with time, its passage, and the evidences of what changes and what endures. It also refers to the spiritual song by Jimmy Cliff, Many Rivers to Cross, which I was listening to somewhat obsessively in the studio last summer.

I hope you'll visit the exhibition at and please give me your comments here, or respond to Joe Walentini, a kind friend and supporter of my work for some long years now! Thank you, Joe.