The Unfolding Rose

"She wakes the ends of life."

--Theodore Roethke

"Unfolding Rose" oil on wood panel, 4x7''

I am busy preparing for my solo show at Third and Ferry Fish Market.  The opening reception will be Thursday, May 12, 2016, from 7-9 pm.  I have decided to call my show "The Unfolding Rose," for two reasons.  For one thing, I feel like an unfolding rose, myself.  I feel like I've been this tight bud of potential for so long, just waiting for the right season, and finally, the sun has warmed me, and I can't do anything except slowly unfold, artistically.  

"Virtue" oil on wood panel, 5x7''

Another reason for my title is that it comes from a poem, "Words for the Wind," by Theodore Roethke.  I just can't get enough of Roethke's poetry these days.  It touches me to the core of my body and soul.  My favorite poems are: "The Dream," "She," "I Knew a Woman," and "Words for the Wind."  

Theodore Roethke


When I was researching Roethke's biography for this blog post, I found that he had been an English professor at Lafayette College, in Easton, PA, just a short walk from my house!  Possibly due to his bouts of mental illness, he was expelled from his position, and soon afterwards had a passionate affair with the poet, Louise Bogan.  I had never heard of her before; her stunning poetry has drifted into the forgotten past, it seems.  This may be due to her gender, perhaps, as well as the fact that she defended formal, lyrical poetry, which was out of vogue during her lifetime.  But, thanks to my infatuation with Roethke, I have stumbled upon her, and I can't wait to read more.  

Louise Bogan

I couldn't fit all of "Words for the Wind," or even just "part 4," onto my show invitation postcard, but I can share it here.  If you want to read the whole poem, you had better get your own book of Roethke poetry, because I can't be parted from mine.


"Words for the Wind" Part 4


The breath of a long root,

The shy perimeter

Of the unfolding rose,

The green, the altered leaf,

The oyster's weeping foot,

And the incipient star--

Are part of what she is.

She wakes the ends of life.


Being myself, I sing

The soul's immediate joy.

Light, light, where's my repose?

A wind wreathes round a tree.

A thing is done: a thing

Body and spirit know

When I do what she does:

Creaturely creature, she!--


I kiss her moving mouth, 

Her swart hilarious skin;

She breaks my breath in half;

She frolicks like a beast;

And I dance round and round,

A fond and foolish man,

And see and suffer myself

In another being, at last.


"Free Spirit" oil on wood panel, 8x10''

Additional News:

  • Last night I put the names (of the people who commented on last week's blog post) into a hat, and pulled out the name of the winner:  It's Adriano.  Congratulations!  I'll contact you and arrange to give you your prize: a free print of any painting on my website.  
  • All the models for my rose paintings were provided by Bloomies in Easton, PA.  Thanks Terry!
  • Below is the front and back of my postcard invitation for my upcoming show, in case you don't get a real one.  But let me know if you want one, and send me your mailing address, and if I have enough, I'll mail you one!
unfolding rose postcard front SINGLE.jpg