Cracked Seed

18x24 Acrylic 2010


The painting, Cracked Seed, is one of a series of paintings which involves the idea of a palimpsest. A palimpsest is a document that has been written on, imperfectly erased, and written on again and again. Keeping this in mind, I intermingled the words of a 14th century Sufi poet, Hafiz, with a phrase from a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, who was a 19th century Jesuit poet. (Hafiz’s poem and the phrase from Hopkins are included below.)

In the first layer I wrote the words of Hafiz and in the second incorporated the words of Hopkins. Further layers included intense colors in order to convey each poet’s passion. This palimpsest style of painting allows the words of poets from various traditions and different eras to interact with one another. The nature of their ensuing conversation reinforces the truth that God is present to each of us, here and now, at all times, and everywhere.

There is an inner glow to this painting which reflects the playful passion of Hafiz and the joy of Hopkins. Both speak of the companionship of humans with God and the resulting “love-mischief” which plays itself out in wondrous ways in our daily lives. My hope is that this painting reflects ancient truths these poets experienced in a new and vibrant way.

I find that as I interact with the writings of others—poets of faith and scripture—I take in their expressions, re-enlivening them within my own experience. The meditative process of inscribing words in multiple layers and subsequently adding transparent veils of color allows me to interact on a far deeper level with the phrases themselves. This process becomes life-changing as I welcome the phrases into my very being. They become a part of me; these words form a substantially real backdrop to my thoughts and intentions and they transform the way I live my life.

    The Seed Cracked Open
    By Hafiz

    It used to be That when I would wake in the morning I could with confidence say, “What am ‘I’ going to Do?”
    That was before the seed Cracked open.
    Now Hafiz is certain:
    There are two of us housed In this body,
    Doing the shopping together in the market and Tickling each other While fixing the evening’s food.
    Now when I awake All the internal instruments play the same music:
    “God, what love-mischief can ‘We’ do For the world Today?”

    Excerpt from The Golden Echo by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

    ….deliver it, early now, long before death
    Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God, Beauty’s self and beauty’s giver.



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