Archives for category: Women Artists

by May Sarton

Before going to bed

After a fall of snow

I look out on the field

Shining there in the moonlight

So calm, untouched and white

Snow silence fills my head

After I leave the window.

Hours later near dawn

When I look down again

The whole landscape has changed

The perfect surface gone

Criss-crossed and written on

Where the wild creatures ranged

While the moon rose and shone.

Why did my dog not bark?

Why did I hear no sound

There on the snow-locked ground
In the tumultuous dark?

How much can come, how much can go

When the December moon is bright,

What worlds of play we’ll never know

Sleeping away the cold white night

After a fall of snow.

Painting: Phoenix Arts Group, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

   in memory of Georgia O’Keeffe
by Larry D. Thomas

she dons jet-black
and takes her stance
before the canvas,
draping her heart
with the shadow
of a black cross.
She scours her mind
with cloudless
desert sky
and she waits
for the moon-like rising
of the flower,
the pelvis,
the cleansed,
sun-bleached skull.

“For Purity” appears in the collection Amazing Grace by Larry D. Thomas, Texas Review Press, 2001

PHOTO: Georgia O’Keeffe with painting, 1930, by Alfred Stieglitz, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Alfred Stieglitz Collection


Happy is so momentary — you’re happy for an instant and then you start thinking again. Interest is the most important thing in life; happiness is temporary, but interest is continuous.”  

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE, American Artist (1887-1986)


Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant; there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.” GEORGIA O’KEEFFE 

Painting: “Jimson Weed” (Oil on canvas, 1932) by Georgia O’Keeffe

by C.S. Merrill (March 1974)

I worked for O’Keeffe at first
as librarian in the book room.
It smelled of old paper
sweet, sharp, and dusty
bare bulb overhead
plywood table
books all over
on the floor, in crates
on shelves, in boxes.
I listed these books
cataloged them
on a manual typewriter
sitting on a cane bottom chair.
Is this how a medieval scribe felt?
To relieve my hours
she hung a small painting
on the west wall,
brilliant scarlet poppies.
Asked her after lunch,
“May I have that little painting?
Will you give it to me?
I like it.” She snorted
didn’t laugh
didn’t say anything
She snorted…loudly
Years later
looking at a paper
for an auction
I learned how much
money it was worth.
She snorted at me
there in the library.
went out the door.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE FROM C.S. (CAROL) MERRILL: O’Keeffe answered my letter. I first visited her one day in August, 1973. She hired me to work on weekends as librarian, secretary, cook, nurse, or companion from 1973 to 1979. This poetry is from my journals written a few hours after the experiences. O’Keeffe…often had me read aloud to her from biographies of the great. Many times we re-read an ancient Taoist text Secret of the Golden Flower. O’Keeffe taught me to cook. She taught me to look, really look, at things. She showed me how to live. She let me know her when she faced old age, blindness, and death in the last years of her life. O’Keeffe must be remembered. She was a woman of fierce temper, infinite kindness, and impeccable sense of artistry. She encouraged me and changed my life. I like to think of her walking in beauty beneath ancient cliffs at Ghost Ranch. This work [poetry] is thanks for the strength of her will and the spirit of her work.

Painting: “Oriental Popples” (oil on canvas, 1928) by Georgia O’Keeffe


To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.” GEORGIA O’KEEFFE

November 15, 2013 marks the 126th anniversary of the birth of artist Georgia O’Keeffe — born in a farmhouse hear Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, in 1887. O’Keeffe lived to age 99 — passing away in March 1986 — and remains a role model and inspiration for artists around the world.

Painting: “Sunrise” (watercolor, 1916) byGeorgia O’Keeffe

by Alberto Rios

I am stealing things All the time.
I steal what I can from everywhere, 

The light, the air, The music that matters most to me. 
I carry them away neatly, invisible in word 

Valises, inside unfathomable 
Thoughts, attached to the magnet 

Harvest of a song I’m singing-nobody, 
Nobody is the wiser- I carry everything away with me 

Using rhyme dollies and spelling knots.
The police have not caught on. 

But I am at large, 
Unwieldy, and unstoppable. 

I walk freely 
Every day, anywhere, all the time

In spite of having stolen 
Horses and kisses-the stars themselves, 

More than one, more than once.
I steal, I steal, 

I have always stolen. 
Be careful of me. When you see me, 

Speak quietly and do little. 
Do not let me notice you. 

Get away 
If you want to be safe. 

Illustration: Pages from The Diary of Frida Kahlo

Poem by Charles Bukowski

a good poem is like a cold beer
when you need it,
a good poem is a hot turkey
sandwich when you’re hungry,
a good poem is a gun when
the mob corners you,
a good poem is something that
allows you to walk through the streets of
a good poem can make death melt like
hot butter,
a good poem can frame agony and
hang it on a wall,
a good poem can let your feet touch
a good poem can make a broken mind
a good poem can let you shake hands
with Mozart,
a good poem can let you shoot craps
with the devil
and win,
a good poem can do almost anything,
and most important
a good poem knows when to

Painting: “Hollyhock Pink with Pedernal,” 1937 by Georgia O’KeeffeMilwaukee Museum of Art

Note: “Defining the Magic”  is included in Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories by Charles Bukowski, available at

by Pablo Neruda

…the round, magnificent,
star-filled watermelon.
It’s a fruit from the thirst-tree.
It’s the green whale of the summer.
The dry universe
all at once
given dark stars
by this firmament of coolness
lets the swelling
come down:
its hemispheres open
showing a flag
green, white, red,
that dissolves into
wild rivers, sugar,
When we’re thirsty
we glimpse you
a mine or a mountain
of fantastic food,
among our longings and our teeth
you change
into cool light
that slips in turn into
spring water
that touched us once
And that is why
you don’t weigh us down
in the siesta hour
that’s like an oven,
you don’t weigh us down,
you just
go by
and your heart, some cold ember,
turned itself into a single
drop of water.

Painting: “Viva La Vida” by Frida Kahlo (1954) — Kahlo’s last painting.

Today we honor Frida Kahlo, the groundbreaking artist who was born on a summer day (July 6, 1907) and passed away on a summer day (July 13, 1954). Like her husband, the celebrated painter Diego Rivera (1886-1957), the subject of Kahlo’s last painting was the watermelon — the essence of all things summer. We raise a slice of summer to Frida and Diego — and thank them for their sublime art. Kahlo’s last painting includes the phrase “Viva La Vida” — long live life — as exemplified by the wonders of the watermelon.

When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat.” MARK TWAIN

For the curious, Diego Rivera‘s last painting is featured below.