I Asked the Giantess What She Likes

Painting “Forest Path” by Cheryl R. Long
in the spirit of Emily Carr

I Asked the Giantess What She Likes
(for Charlie Two Legs)

and she said she liked the Cassiar
jade from Charlie Two Legs, rough and smooth.
“Only the Skeena River is that color,”
she said,” That glacial till,
reflected Red Cedar green, smoky
and rich.”

She said it reminded her
of Emily Carr painting in Haida G’waii
and over in the Git’san country,
all those greens on her palette,
the way she never felt
she could get the greens right
(leafy green, blue-green, emerald green, lavender,
greenish black, deep cedar/Big
Leaf Maple/Sitka Spruce/ Doug Fir green;
Devil’s Club, Stinging Nettle, Horsetail,
Vine Maple, tag alder green).

Emily Carr knew the secret
of Cassiar jade—how the north
forest cedars and Skeena green
got locked in the stone long before
even the Giantess was born, she
who lived out the Ice Ages
in a sunny cave facing south.

Before any of us, she had her
Cassiar jade, stones in a circle,
dreaming a land bridge,
dreaming a people,
dreaming her own totemic face
high over Alert Bay,
her own mask at the chief’s side,
cedar, jade and Skeena green
her oldest gifts
to the people she dreamed.

“And I also like,” she said,
but I said, “Hush.
I am silenced.
That’s enough
for now.”

2 thoughts on “I Asked the Giantess What She Likes”

  1. Well now, very nice comparison to the incomparable Emily Carr. The poem is so evocative it stirs me to greater efforts. I can add a totemic face and some Cassiac Jade to my next painting. This poem puts me right there when the land bridge was just a twinkle in some creative eye. I want some of that Jade, thats what I like.

  2. Beautiful poem/painting combination.

    Only the Skeena River is that color,”
    she said,” That glacial till,
    reflected Red Cedar green, smoky
    and rich."

    I know exactly what you mean by the glacial till green.

    In the Wind River mountains of wyoming, the glacial fed rivers are that color.
    In fact, the winds are the headwaters of a river of that name (The Green), which empties into the Colorado in the Utah canyon country.

    Larry Jewett

    PS I found your site from Julie Chapman's blog which i visit from time to time. I took one of her workshops a few years ago (her very first, actually(

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