Painting Hog Island

I paint images of the Great Glacier’s artifact
the massive drumlin in the Essex marsh,
a large dark oval whale like form,
always distant, bold, or vanishing in mist,
a turning point for swirling tidal flows,
sometimes floating on the sea
often sinking into the marsh grass..

I try to center this island
in our bowl of existence,
.        -impose the sacred onto it
.          as we do onto  inscrutable forms-
as the osprey hang in the sky,
or gulls hover over the darkly
wooded mound imbedded
in the simulated swirl
of rising and ebbing waters.

I paint the sea of the island,
attempt to show the water flowing
through the passages of the marsh.
I try to find the sacred embodied here,
as others in Kayaks do,
visiting the graveyard,
searching for artifacts,
arrowheads, shards, mythic remains.

All of us fail, one way or another.
The Indian artifacts are long gone.
The paintings fail to show the sacred,
lying hidden in the soil.
.         (Sacred Madonnas were, after all,
.           painted in the ages of belief.)
The sacred sense the Indians have
from the Great Spirit and Earth Mother;
.        that we are temporary here,
.        that the land does not belong to us,
.        that we only borrow it from the Mother,
has been lost.

Hog Island reminds us.

The paintings will vanish
the sea will rise, flood the marsh,
wash the binding clay away,
assert the ocean, and we too
will have gone by then
linked as the Indians know
into the swirl of nature

Kent Bowker        9/16/2011

One thought on “Painting Hog Island”

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