Art – a Solstice Poem – 2008


Where does art come from?
Who has the ideas –
whose hand moves the vermillion brush
running into green-gold skies?

Who is it that loves water
and a glaze so sheer it
shimmers with melting light?

Who is in love with the tender line,
the blackest storm and the crack of light?
It is me and more than me-
the hand of God loves art.

I bow my head,
stand slightly aside –
hands, brush, heart.
we wait.

Cheryl R. Long
Solstice December 21, 2008

Dream Mandalas

Dream Mandala of My Father Entering the Museum of the Dead. Mom and Me at a Cafe in Paris, One Empty Chair, Both Sun and Moon

Dream Mandala

December 3, 2008
(From a in-class exercise in my Linfield College Creative Writing class Fall 2008. We tracked our dreams all semester, then chose one particular image to express in a mandala and a write.)

May 18, 2008

Peter and I are driving in our Subaru on a local highway—I am at the wheel. The asphalt begins to get rough, so I low down. There’s plenty of traffic, all slowing. Some people are driving off the road out into the fields, apparently on detour.

Now we see why: an enormous impact crater has destroyed the road. The river has run into it, filling it with deep and dangerous pools. This isn’t a pothole you can drive across, although we see people driving out on dead end ledges, unable to get back.

I propose one route, but Peter points out the steep drop on the other side. He gets out to look around and goes to talk to someone. An official waves his arms and opens a way for my column of cars. I inch forward, thinking Peter will see me and follow, but the traffic and the crowds of people on foot increase and I lose sight of him.

On the other side, I pick up two men; one drives and the other sits in the back seat, and we inch along through traffic, then suddenly we’re passed the crater and moving free. But where is Peter?

“Stop! Go back! We have to find Peter! I order the man driving. My body is flooded wth urgency and anxiety.

“I’m not going back there! Hitchhikers have rights, too, you know! He replied, not slowing.

“Turn back! Turn back! I have to find Peter!” I beat on his muscled arm and wrench the wheel in a circle so that he is forced out the door, and I take over the wheel.

I turn back the way we had come, re-entering the chaos of the crater blast zone. People are milling around in a panic. I ump out of the car and try to find a familiar face or an official and finally spot someone. “Have you seen Peter? Do you know wich way he went?”

“Oh, yes,” she said, “I saw he ran into an old acquaintance of his, Glasses Larimer. They went off together.”

“Do you know where Glasses lives? Tell me!”

“Oh, if he went off with Glasses, you’ll never find him.”

I look again at the crater and its green, cold depths blocking the road.

Volcano Woman Refugia

Volcano Woman Refugia
December 1, 2008
(From a in-class exercise in my Linfield College Creative Writing class Fall 2008. We heard a tribal story about Frog Woman/Volcano Woman; we listed the images in the story and chose one to draw; then we wrote from the persona of the image.)
This is an image of a mother and a daughter staring out of a cave in the mountains. They have taken refuge there against the erupting nearby volcano that is running rivers of fire down the valley and all around them. They are sitting out the fire. Everyone, life as they have known it, is being annihilated. But if they wait, they will atone the sins of their village to Frog Volcano Woman and be taken up under the wings of Eagle and join the Eagle People.

Volcano Woman sends forth
her rivers of fire like
slow-moving serpents with
red crystal eyes
as my mother and I hold our brilliant shawls
over our streaming hair.
We sit cross-legged in the doorway.
We are the last
of our clan.
Through the smoke
that blurs the morning sun,
we will see the Eagle.
One under each wing,
we will fly to a land
where the Eagle People
scatter lodges along
a river bank and we
will become them:
out of Fire–Flight.

College Girl Mermaid in her Christmas Sweater

College Girl Mermaid in her Christmas Sweater
December 23, 2008

These past couple of weeks, my mind has been a blank, a reflective surface bouncing light off winter snow. I awoke at 4:00 am thinking I should start drawing again to wake my Muse. As I drew, I understood that mind is in the head with glasses and soul is in the body, which swims in the sea of unconscious memories, dreams, desires.