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Art Inspired Poetry by Doug Woody Woodsum

HomeWatercolor Gallery IWatercolor Gallery IIBelgrade Lakes WatercolorMore Maine WatercolorThe Lawns of LobstermenChristmas CardsIntaglio, Linocuts & MorePoetry by Doug Woody WoodsumAbout the ArtistPricing & AvailabilityPayment & ShippingLink to Etsy StorefrontContact Information

The watercolor painting that inspired Misplaced Landscapes with Sandhill Cranes can be found in Watercolor Gallery I, titled SandHill Cranes at Sunset.
The print that inspired Jade Mountain can be found on the page of Intaglios, Linocuts & More. It's at the top left of the page.

Misplaced Landscape With Sandhill Cranes

Out of place, like a cyclist on a winter road

at dusk, two cranes bend then straighten their bony legs

stepping over rows of thick brown stalks, frosted stubble:

a chopped corn field touched with snow. Beside them, a flooded

ditch, iced-over; so they eat gleaned corn, a deer mouse,

and a lost half-frozen woolly bear.


 The farmlands stretch for miles, but the cattle have been called in.

Only the cranes, dusky in this light, graze. I’m used to Currier

And Ives landscapes with stocky turkeys emerging

from the woods to scratch and peck a living under

the old apple trees. In these parts, meandering turkey flocks

sometimes hold up traffic on the rural highways.

But these cranes are far from the road, easy

to miss, despite being tall as the surrounding fence posts.

Svelte and large-framed, they’re graceful for all their angles and bones.


Yes, graceful, because when I stop pedaling to be part

of the spare brushstrokes of this oriental winter scene,

the cranes take off, taking the whole world away with them.

With ease, their legs bend then straighten; their wings gesture across

the landscape of fields, darkening woods and outbuildings. They take off

as the sun takes light at dusk, as a brush runs out of paint.


Jade Mountain

What mountains are not jade, in the end? The White Mountains turn

green. The Green Mountains turn white. The air gets thin; the mind slows,

and I become aware of my body as body: dead

weight the spirit must pack and shoulder to the heights where gods

are said to live. They live, we are told, on the tops of big

hard rocks: small comfort till I remember rocks are couches

to gods. Halfway up, there's a place to stop for water, rocks

worn smooth by water, and there is sun. I recline, and warm

smooth rock cups me for the span of a nap. I dream jade dreams

when I climb a mountain. When I'm tired, weary, and worn-out,

every dream is a pillow. A rock is a pillow.


O Jade, why would I wear you on my wrist or neck? Crown me

while I get my breath back, and my eyelids smooth into dreams.

Upon waking from a white dream into a green world, Jade

Mountain is ten times taller; Jade Mountain has disappeared.

The body is trying to remember what impulse drove

it to want to climb this mountain. The spirit is trying

to remember if it has ever lived anywhere else.