Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Sometimes a dream is a subject for a poem. I woke up one morning thinking about a friend, and wondering if I had failed to respond to her when she needed comfort. Dreams often present ideas for poems, and often the images in dreams are incredible metaphors for writing one.

Father’s Day

She related her story, how her

father was buried by a second wife,

under a tasteless headstone,

where if she visited, she would

be assaulted by the reproach

of her father’s wishes denied.

I shared with her how I had seen

so many cases of cruelty to others

upon the occasion of a death.

(But my own pains were not shared,

and my own unkindness to others

at another time suppressed as well)


I remember her running out, her

emotions overwhelming her. I started

to go after her, but didn't, thinking

she wanted to be alone to regain

her composure.


I shared with her later, a story of my

father... one of very few memories

of him which was wholesome but

which failed to erase the grief of all

the verbal assaults he made upon

my self esteem, so that by the time

I was fifteen, I had divorced him

emotionally, and shut down most

affection I would have liked to have

shared with him in a better world.


Now, I fear I also shut out my friend

by failing to reach out, causing a rift,

before our friendship could begin.



To learn about the techniques for creating the above drawing,

Writing and Art Work © by Ruth Zachary, all rights reserved.

Monday, July 12, 2010



An Anthropomorphized Landscape?


For the past four years in one of my writing groups, we have randomly selected five or six words from the dictionary. The next meeting we try to bring something we have written which includes these words. I like the exercise, because it often triggers a person to think out of their usual groove, and often has started a poem I might otherwise not have written.


This month, we chose words that conveyed emotions, each person contributing a word. For a while now, because using metaphor does not come easily, and I tend to be way too literal, I have tried to use the words as metaphors. It is easy to speak of a person or even an animal, using an emotional word, but how do you make it metaphoric?


The way that seemed best was to assign an emotion to a landscape surrounding my character, or me, which would metaphorically reflect what the person was feeling. That is an exercise mentioned before on this blog, but the other did not suggest using emotional words, but to use the landscape to convey a mood reflecting the speaker’s emotions.


First I wrote phrases suggesting landscape elements that expressed the emotions.Then I joined them. The setting was pure fantasy, an Artisan set in a Medieval Period. It took three stanzas before I could use the words.The poem is still unfinished, so I will spare you all but the last two. I will probably call the finished piece, The Artisan.


The underlined words below were those chosen for the exercise.


At the left and to the east, a stream could

be seen cutting through the tired forest,

excitedly tearing away the roots of

wearied trees under shadowed branches

dissapointedly sinking toward the earth.

It probably ran into the same river that

passed through his village, the life-giving

source and life draining current, wearing

away its residents in endless toil and hardship.

Here, the secretive river was hidden

from view by somber mists,… an omen?

He would not go that way.


To the west the sky darkened, over

bright leafed poplars that trembled

fearfully as if anticipating doom.

The storm would overtake him, whichever

direction he chose. Hurrying, he put his things

in his oilskin pack, with tools and woolen

blanket, and headed south, toward majestic

mountains rising joyfully with promise,

where blue sky shone beyond the storm.


Writing and Images are the sole © Copyright of Ruth Zachary 2010.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


When Flowers Grow Free, Pen and Ink and
Computer Drawing Tools, ©by Ruth Zachary.
To see more art and read about the drawing
techniques, go to



Daffodils appeared on the hill

I planned to move them

to a cultivated place.

After digging two feet down

those tender shoots drooped

disappointed, snapped off by accident,

where stems curved in earth

from some deep nocturnal residence.


Roots undiscovered, buried

there twenty years or more

by a dozer digging a drain field

beneath the hill. What will to live

could endure such valiant effort?

How many years, if ever,

before they found the sun again?


Not long.Their roots in darkness knew

not only when spring arrived

but how to grow toward the sun.

And I, compelled by nature's need

to love, obeyed some internal

compass drawing me to light.


This past month I have experienced a time like this, when many of my creative efforts failed. I started over each time with a new approach to make my ideas materialize, until I began to learn from the failures. Some experiments and some visions do have limits. They have natural ways to grow which are inherent to their nature.

I wanted to integrate my abstractions with realistic images, but as long as I sought to do this using the old methods, the attempts didn’t work. As soon as I realized I would have to work differently, and to use black and white without color, my efforts began to work. And because I wanted the images to be used for illustrations in poetry chapbooks, black and white was well suited to the planned use.

I am very pleased with the process and with the results. I feel as if I have come out of the darkness into the sun. What I have learned is to be patient, and to realize creativity doesn’t only exist when things seem to go right. It is still there, even when it seems dormant. Creativity lies deep within, and with continued nurturing and effort, beauty manifests in its own time and way.

Images and Writing are the Copyright © of Ruth Zachary.