Archives for posts with tag: watercolor

by Matsuo Basho
Translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa

Breaking the silence
Of an ancient pond,
A frog jumped into water —
A deep resonance

ART: “Frog,” watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt.

DUCKS (Excerpt)
by Frank W. Harvey

Yes, ducks are valiant things
On nests of twigs and straws,
And ducks are soothy things
And lovely on the lake
When that the sunlight draws
Thereon their pictures dim
In colours cool.
And when beneath the pool
They dabble, and when they swim
And make their rippling rings,
0 ducks are beautiful things!
But ducks are comical things:-
As comical as you.
They waddle round, they do.
They eat all sorts of things,
And then they quack.
By barn and stable and stack
They wander at their will,
But if you go too near
They look at you through black
Small topaz-tinted eyes
And wish you ill.
Triangular and clear
They leave their curious track
In mud at the water’s edge,
And there amid the sedge
And slime they gobble and peer
Saying ‘Quack! quack!’

READ MORE: Read “Ducks” by F.W. Harvey in its entirety at

IMAGE: “Ducks on Red Lake,” watercolor by Amy Vansgard. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Frederick William Harvey (1888–1957), often known as Will Harvey, and dubbed “the Laureate of Gloucestershire,” was an English poet, broadcaster, and solicitor whose poetry became popular during and after World War I.

by Ogden Nash

Behold the duck.
It does not cluck.
A cluck it lacks.
It quacks.
It is specially fond
Of a puddle or pond.
When it dines or sups,
It bottoms ups.

IMAGE: “Mallard Duck on Pond 3 Square,” watercolor by Amy Vansgard. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Frederic Ogden Nash (1902-1971) was an American poet known for his light verse. The New York Times said his “droll verse with its unconventional rhymes made him the country’s best-known producer of humorous poetry.” Ogden Nash wrote over 500 pieces of comic verse. The best of his work was published in 14 volumes between 1931 and 1972.

by Roberta Hill Whiteman

“Hi, guy,” said I to a robin
perched on a pole in the middle
of the garden. Pink and yellow
firecracker zinnias, rough green
leaves of broccoli,
and deep red tomatoes on dying stems
frame his still presence.

“I’ve heard you’re not
THE REAL ROBIN. Bird watchers have
agreed,” I said.”THE REAL ROBIN
lives in England. They claim
your are misnamed and that we ought
to call you ‘a red-breasted thrush’
because you are

He fluffed up. “Am I not
Jis ko ko?” he cried, “that persistent
warrior who carries warmth
northward every spring?”
He seemed so young, his red belly
a bit light and his wings, still
faded brown. He watched me
untangling the hose to water squash.

“Look who’s talking!” he chirruped.
“Your people didn’t come
from Europe or even India.
The turtles say you’re a relative
to red clay on this great island.”
Drops of crystal water
sparkled on the squash.

“Indigenous!” he teased
as he flew by.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Jis ko ko is the Iroquoian name for Robin. In the story, he is a young warrior who confronts the old man of winter. The old man uses ice and brutal winds to keep Jis ko ko’s warmth away from the earth. When the old man shoots him on the chest with an arrow of ice, the young man bleeds and transforms into the bird. Even as a bird, he continues his purpose, bringing warm rain and growth—green leaves, flowers and fruit.

SOURCE: “Morning Talk” appears in Roberta Hill Whiteman‘s collection Philadelphia Flowers (Holy Cow! Press, 1996), available at

IMAGE: “Harbinger,” watercolor by Betty LaRue. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roberta Hill Whiteman is a poet of Wisconsin Oneida heritage. She is known for the collections Star Quilt (1984) and Philadelphia Flowers (1996). She received the 1991 Wisconsin Idea Foundation’s Excellence Award and has a PhD from the University of Minnesota.

by W.D. Snodgrass

Outside, the last kids holler
Near the pool: they’ll stay the night.
Pick up the towels; fold your collar
Out of sight.

Check: is the second bed
Unrumpled, as agreed?
Landlords have to think ahead
In case of need,

Too. Keep things straight: don’t take
The matches, the wrong keyrings–
We’ve nowhere we could keep a keepsake–
Ashtrays, combs, things

That sooner or later others
Would accidentally find.
Check: take nothing of one another’s
And leave behind

Your license number only,
Which they won’t care to trace;
We’ve paid. Still, should such things get lonely,
Leave in their vase

An aspirin to preserve
Our lilacs, the wayside flowers
We’ve gathered and must leave to serve
A few more hours;

That’s all. We can’t tell when
We’ll come back, can’t press claims,
We would no doubt have other rooms then,
Or other names.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William DeWitt Snodgrass (1926-2009) won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1960. He is considered a leading figure — along with Sylvia Plath, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Lowell, and Anne Sexton — in the confessional school of poetry.

PAINTING: “Spring Romance” by Kathy Nesseth. Prints available at

by Jean McKishnie Blewett

There’s an Isle, a green Isle, set in the sea,
Here’s to the Saint that blessed it!
And here’s to the billows wild and free
That for centuries have caressed it!

Here’s to the day when the men that roam
Send longing eyes o’er the water!
Here’s to the land that still spells home
To each loyal son and daughter!

Here’s to old Ireland—fair, I ween,
With the blue skies stretched above her!
Here’s to her shamrock warm and green,
And here’s to the hearts that love her!

ILLUSTRATION: “Ireland Watercolor Map” by Michael Tompsett. Prints available at


In honor of the 20th anniversary of Charles Bukowski’s passing — the author left this world on March 9, 1994 — we are raffling off this original 18×18″ watercolor portrait of Bukowski by Bradley Wind. If you’d like your name entered into the drawing, just send an email with your contact info to with RAFFLE in the subject line. We promise to blindfold ourselves when we pick the winner — which we’ll select on Sunday, March 9, 2014. (For the record, this artwork is from our personal collection, acquired after the portrait appeared in the Silver Birch Press Bukowski Anthology.)

Stay tuned for a week of giveaways as we count down to the 20th Anniversary of Hank’s departure and pay tribute to the great writer!

“Whatever I do is done out of sheer joy; I drop my fruits like a ripe tree. What the general reader or the critic makes of them is not my concern.” HENRY MILLER, American writer (1891-1980)

Painting: Henry Miller portrait, watercolor by Fabrizio Cassetta. Prints available at

by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.
Watercolor by Laura Trevey. Prints available at

Poem by Billy Collins

Why do we bother with the rest of of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening,
then night with his notorious perfumes,
his many-pointed stars?
This is the best –
throwing off the light covers,
feet on the cold floor,
and buzzing around the house on espresso – 
maybe a splash of water on the face,
a palmful of vitamins –
but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,
dictionary and atlas open on the rug,
the typewriter waiting for the key of the head,
a cello on the radio,
and, if necessary, the windows – 
trees fifty, a hundred years old
out there,
heavy clouds on the way
and the lawn steaming like a horse
in the early morning.

Billy Collins served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001-2003.

Illustration: “Blue Ridge Mountains,” watercolor by Ginette Callaway, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at