Editors Note: This week we have a special treat. Along with two poems by Elizabeth Potter, we also have the paintings that inspired them. It’s rare that we get to feature this kind of collaboration, so I hope you enjoy it.
An apparition moves
when the sea desires company.
Restless with lapping at rock,
her longing lifts–
an aeroform gypsy…
She creeps up the banking,
curls in arches of ferns
breathing in their rooty darkness…
Then climbs slender necks of white birch,
tracing underside of branches;
they do not need eyes to know
it is her moving among them.
They understand the sea can move this way–
caress with spectral feathers cool and moist
and drift away as fast as she alights,
imparting a sheen to whatever she touches,
as if newly born.
Let’s look ahead to where we’re going,
brush the mercuried silk
of morning ocean with ready paddles,
point the red tip of our canoe
toward land we cannot see
but sense ahead–
a musky creature lumbering out of fog
smelling of sinewy earth and sharp pine.
You let me lead,
your woman’s body understanding
the itch of a younger version of yourself.
You steady the boat,
steer true with subtle underwater adjustments,
watch my back and remember
your own narrow hips before child,
your own eagerness to get there.
Now you sit legs and back square but unhurried,
your steadfast body
housing a million comings and goings–
pleased with this day
with this girl
Elizabeth Potter is a poet and teacher in Maine. Her poetry has been published in journals and newspapers throughout New England. Her poem “Primitive Runes” won honorable mention in the 2006 Friends of Acadia national poetry contest. She has taught creative writing workshops for the last twelve years to all ages, from elementary school students to seniors. Ten of her poems, written in response to paintings by accomplished artist, Jerri Finch, were on exhibit for the month of October at the Belfast Free Library, as part of the 2006 Belfast Poetry Festival.
Jerri Finch is a painter in Belfast, ME. She has this to say of her work here, “Six years ago I bid adieu to my signature works.
I knew it was time for a change. I had been dreaming of brush strokes, and
wanted to get away from the technical aspect of airbrushing. I closed the
doors of my studio to the outside world and focused solely on painting in
oils. I continue to present Maine scenes and landscapes that retain my ability to transport the viewer while adhering to a more minimalist style. This new work is about the intense emotions embodied in images of Maine’s landscape as well as the exploration of the deep internal landscapes in each of us.”