I have a few other paintings that were done earlier, but I wanted to share this one right away since Tom’s poem made me think of Remembrance Day recently past. When I painted it, I was enjoying the form, colour and texture …but I appreciate that Tom sees things in my paintings that give another layer to them, a whole other life.
The heather’s deep, my bonny lass,
where horses haven’t trampled down
the sturdy men and brittle grass
this day when all our sorrows drown
and somewhere pipes are calling still
across the glen and through the hills
to bring us back from wrack and war
which we will study no’ the more.
We do not answer, rise, nor march
to follow down the piper’s call
for we will feast in other halls
beneath the sky’s eternal arch.
Above us still the thistle grows
Our prickly, coarse, and perfect rose.
Starting with a poppy in the centre of this mandala seemed in tune with this time of year. Poppies and remembering.
Life is rather unsettled at the moment so it may be a while before I watercolour this. I wanted to share the black and white version anyway – since black and white also seems in tune with November.
Tom’s stirring poem:
Storm winds blow the scattered leaves of autumn
through the empty air, across the fields,
into ditches, craters, holes, and trenches
where a sniper aims for lost ideals:
service, duty, glory, resolution,
patriotic feeling, good and right,
huddled in the rank’s malign confusion
readying to rise and charge and strike.
The minutes tick around the face of time
measuring the heartbeats of the dead
breathing in the shadows, asking why
the blood of men so innocent is shed
for empire and for nation and for fear,
when all who seem so far are truly near.
In memory of Private George Lawrence Price, the last Canadian to die in WWI, two minutes before the Armistice:
A field of poppies… inspired by Monet’s Poppies Blooming. I made some modifications… and of course, not oil painting! Although I did this doodle about two months ago, it was always intended to be for Remembrance Day. We are even working it into the flow for Songs of Albion.
UPDATE: New sonnet for Remembrance Day from Tom – thanks!!
Behold the men who lie beneath the Earth
where now the bright red splashes of the flowers
belie those times when once a human’s worth
was measured by the armies of the Powers
who needed cannon fodder for the fields
they sowed with arty, gas and Maxim fire,
where boys were carried homeward homeward on their shields
but never quite escaped the mud and mire.
Behold the peaceful meadow, poppy-clad,
where ghosts are never quiet in the night,
beneath the autumn sun where once the mad
convinced the world that war was something right.
Behold the dead, the boys who never age:
Whose ghosts won’t rest until it’s peace we wage.