Category Archives: Poetry

A Return to the Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal

Welcome Back!

Cheryl and I took a year-long hiatus from the Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal art, blog, and classes, but now we’re back.

Starting Jan. 2, 2018, Cheryl will teach a two week class The Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal. It is a two week online course in drawing memories, dreams, and reflections on black paper using gel pens or Prismacolor pencils.

In love with vivid color, we pursue the soul’s uncensored purpose.

To get back in the groove, we are each returning to our black journals and sharpening up our Prismacolors.

Sandy got started this morning with a drawing that began with a dream and then went from there. She wrote a poem that “explains” each step of the drawing.

A Return to the Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal
“A Return to the Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal”
Derwent InkTense Pencils. Sandy Brown Jensen
A Return to the Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal

Now we return to teach and be taught

by The Mysterious Journal of Dreams.

Bright colors and a black field—

the gate between worlds swings wide.

As I drew the distant mountains,

I thought, ” A faraway friend.”

As I colored in the layered cliffs,

I thought, “Banded agate.”

As the petroglyphs emerged,

I thought, “Return to a seed, a star, a tree.”

A boat blew her sails into the wind,

And I said, “Now we’re on the water.”

The surf first, and then the wind,

and two swimmers, you and me,

The earth, the sky, the sea.

–Sandy Brown Jensen

Have YOU been dreaming or drawing or writing lately?

Rumi said,

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”

What has been drawing YOU? Let us know in the comment field–it’s above, just under the headline where it says “Leave a comment.”

We’d love to hear from everyone!

Will She Come To Me Now?

–Sandy Brown Jensen

(This poem is about my unusual muse, who is a ten foot tall hominid who survived the Ice Age and still roams the Pacific Northwest. She is not to be confused with Sasquatch of urban legend fame or Dzonoquah of the sacred Kwakwakawak tribal pantheon except that in Dreamtime, she is both of those. I am working on a book of poems called Giantess.)

Sandy_iPad_gazingGlobe

 

Will she come to me now when

the little creek of grief is nothing

but dark water in an old ditch

inching upward with the swell

of winter rain?

She is a creature

of the far North. All winter

She sleeps as the bears sleep.

She lets her dream body loose

to roam, held to her sleeping

bulk by the thinnest of silks.

When the winter nights

are tin cold and the stars

so far away that I may as well

have my head in a bucket

punched with holes, I look

for her between fir trees. I listen

for her in the gunshot snap

of a frozen limb. I try

to find her thread

and lead her to me here.

Giantess Two Trunks

Now the March thaw

is breaking up the rivers

the way, long after a death,

the heart begins to rise again.

I know she is traveling

toward me now, the long

southward beaches still roaring

with open mouths their storm

surge songs.

She is finding

cockles among the seaweed,

and her eyes, if you could see them,

have twin catchlights

like inverted crescent moons.

Alert Bay Dzono_and_Me

Canvas of the Soul

Drawing of Childhood Home
This little drawing was done first in the Paper 53 app then moved to Bazaart to add the image in the upper left and the text.

In today’s Daily Create, we were asked to draw our childhood home. I have done this drawing many times over the years, and I notice it has gotten less and less specific as time wears away at the bright stones of memory, polishing them down to their glowing centers.

Now it is mountains, trees, tracks, river, house.

I grew up on the Wenatchee River in the foothills of the Enchantments. The image of me upper left is from an underwater shoot a couple of days ago and seems to me a face full of memory.

Even a rudimentary sketch like this seems beautiful to me, and I stare at it falling into a reverie of a time both long ago and yet still a room I can walk into that is as close as breathing.

The Mysterious Night Journal for me used to be gel pens or Prismacolor on black paper, but as I work in my art journal and so often disappear into the many rooms of memory, I see it is the canvas of the soul.

Your Art Journal is the canvas of your soul.


 

 

Moon Roses

 

Moon_Roses_sandy
This is the first sketch I did for the Color Your World colored pencil online art class from Toucan Create! It reminded me of the poem, “Moon Roses” by my husband Peter Jensen. The marriage of the two speaks to the soul of the Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal.

Moon Roses

                       Written after my shock at 9/11 turned into an endless grief

 Sometimes, we have to leave the Earth.

Some times are bad times, war time, time

to learn how bad humans can be. That’s

when we order roses from the Moon.

 

Moon roses show up, brighter than summer

roses, pale and day-glo and neon

as if they were grown in an off-planet

hot house. They appear too good for this world.

 

We ordered four hot pinks, two purples, and two

creamy oranges, and they last as if their petals

were silk spun by Moon moths

in our winter cool solarium.

 

As proof of where they came from, the Moon is full.

At night, I can see our Moon roses longing for home.

                                    —Peter Jensen

Magic Solstice Tree

Magic Tree, Watercolor by Cheryl R. Long


In a clearing not far from here,

a tree shimmers and draws

tendrils of thought

into its constant making.


You may braid a world

into being inside its thousand

lights. Find it in the old

growth forest that roots


itself in your ten toes,

explodes stars through fingertips,

eyes, your hair lacing leaves,

little lights to the solstice sky.


Sandy Brown Jensen

Kandinsky’s Excuse

Kandinsky, his cows and his maid,
a mere excuse for cobalt blue bleeding
to green gold,
foiled by white with new gamboge spots.
Yellow spots, outrageous on a cow as any red headed country girl knows.
Is that a sap green sea or is it a  ship about to set sail into
a ochre sky? 

Rose Petal Eyes

Coyote has rose petal eyes

Rose Petal Eyes
I love my rose petal eyes;
they open wide like stained
glass mandalas of the soul.
High up in the airy nave
rose windows bloom spirit eyes,
and a yellow spider hangs on
a single silver strand
of silk. She will weave
spirit eyes, and a web
to catch the dead, so they
may pause like pale moths
struggling one last time before
escaping out my rose petal eyes
into that final light or dark.
–Sandy Brown Jensen

My Eyes Shoot Spirit Rays

 Every time I teach poetry, I eventually get around to reading the story about Coyote and his Rose Petal Eyes. This is my illustration from another time (May 4, 2009) I worked with this theme, and here is the link to the short short story I wrote to go with it that time.

Hibernation

Hibernation

Every winter she remembers how the ice

came down out of the north,

locking the land in creaking sheets

of weighted white. Bears froze

in their dens. Ptarmigan and hares

stayed white all year round.

The big animals, the mastodon

and dire wolf, even saber-toothed cat

stayed south of the Big Ice, obeying

that single law: Eat or Die.

She lived those ages out in a high cave

on the Prince of Wales Island looking south.

She scambled together a denning nest

of dry seaweed, lichen and moss,

living on mussels and crab and finally,

gone into that hibernating sleep,

on her own fat reservoirs.

Last November, she left me, traveling

back in time and north to that cave

where now she sleeps the long north nights

dreaming perhaps of our life together

or perhaps she dreams of her glory days

with The People.

But I am abandoned here in the rainy green,

her pale girl, flap-armed marionette

with nothing real to say.

How long before a lengthening sun

sends puffins to the cave to wake

the sleeping Giantess? There will be

spring-run salmon to fuel

her waking blood. When, oh when,

will she remember me and follow

the line of the warming sun south?

In my cold garden, the apple boughs

are still bare, but I have built

a fire circle of green sea agates

and a red carnelian to call her home.

Oregon White Oak Agate

I am slowly being changed
from the inside out by the giantess
who lives in my tree—we
have become an Oregon oak
struggling to connect
the sky to the pure agates
hidden in our roots.

I vote for acorns;
she votes for falling leaves,
for shrugging off all color.
She wants to brood,
wrapped in her thick wood
until not even the sharpest stars
can pierce her dream.

I grub for the lost agates with both hands.
Stuffing them into my apron
pockets, I climb up her
chest limbs to Raven’s
unruly nest. I can place
the round stones there where the moon
can imbue them
with milky light.

Still held tight
by her dry, mossy hands,
I can turn the cheek
she can’t see to a salt breeze
coming from a sea
not far from here—
over the hill by the river’s mouth
where my jade horse still stands,
bridled
and ready to run.

–Sandy Jensen

Heartsong Snowstorm

Heartsong Snowstorm
(after a form by Lex Runciman)

March snow storm—fast, fat,
furry flakes from the Coast Range
all the way across the Valley
floor to the Cascade
rim of our white ceramic
Willamette bowl.
Windshield wipers
parse glimpses of newborn lambs
suckling first milk:
white on white on white,
snowy air of my heart.

Skies of my heart cover
the woven basket of wetland
reeds, alkali flats,
sagebrush steppes: myths and rivers
of my childhood. Passive blue eye,
you who have seen my father’s curiosity,
followed his red socks into the desert,
trained his eyes to see
your Great Web, you will not blink
when my river, too,
has dried to a sand arroyo under your
pitiless sun,
burnt landscape of my heart.

And I have been followed by people
I do not know
into streets I have had to name myself.
At dawn, when mist rises
from the river and the fishermen
drink coffee, string line under the pilings
of the creosote docks,
the lovers find each other by the jade elephants
in Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe and children
tag their way to school through the back
alleys and dusty lots
of the lost city of my heart.

Be adventurous and kind,
tragic people of my heart,
I am inventing you
while my lungs still breathe
and the snow still falls
cold and white:
air of my heart.

–Sandy Jensen
March 12, 2009