The very long thin format of this and other paintings is compositionally challenging. I’m painting a sliver of form, space or time and similar to arctic ice tube samples these slivers tell a deep, ancient stories. I am also influenced by ancient Chinese landscapes. This painting was inspired by Lewis’s poem, “White Oak.” “I grow forever in one place, yet stir abroad, Flinging my small hard leaves upon the air, Forever stirring in the air yet not Forsaking this one spot…. An image of Him in my constancy, An eldest child of God, the white oak tree.”
I grow forever in one place, yet stir abroad,
Flinging my small hard leaves upon the air,
Forever stirring in the air yet not
Forsaking this one spot.
All day along my trunk and branches hum
The motions of my life, and at my fingers’ ends
The bright leaves dance.
Yet quietly I stand as in a trance.
In a long revery of life I stand
Like Him who stirs forever in His thought,
Yet moveth not,
An image of Him in my constancy,
An eldest child of God, the white oak tree.
Yet do I crumble, yet do I waste away,
Even as I grow. My root,
Five hundred years ago
Sunk in the earth, in this impoverished ground
Meagerly searches out
The tide that once did flow,
A permeating love, a music without sound.
My branches rot, my small twigs break and fall.
The owl, the hawk,
Find houses in my hollowed stubbornness.
Here is division, here,
That brings my endless stirring unto naught.
The green leaf and the sere
Hang side by side.
Ah, who has flung
These galls of death into the flesh of life.
Ah, who derides His thought!
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