By Phyllis Green
I've been a writer most of my life, but five years ago, I began to tell stories with paint and canvas.
This is an early painting. I remembered back in Sunday School when I was a child, there were pictures of Jesus on the cross with several women praying near him. So I simply painted my memory.
Phyllis Green is an author, playwright, and artist. Her paintings can be found at ArLiJo 123, Earth and Altar, Gulf Stream Magazine, Novus, New Plains Review, CERASUS, and soon in CALYX, Aji, Club Plum, Third Wednesday, I 70 Review, and Cinematic Codes Review.
By Matthew J. Andrews
Jonah Cast into the Sea by James Patrick Reid. Used with the artist's permission.
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(after James Patrick Reid’s Jonah)
Of course I doubted him: crazed man
of dust blown in by the wind, waterlogged
eyes, salt baked onto his skin, demanding
penance in the name of a god foreign
to my ears, telling stories dripping wet
with madness. But he took my hand
with surprising strength and guided
my fingers down the length of his arm,
to the wounds riddling him like pockmarks,
those places where the grave’s teeth tore
into the skin, and to the patches burned
with the corrosive splash of sheol’s stomach,
and as I imagined the pain his god
had made him endure, he drew my eyes
up to his and asked me: do you now believe?
Matthew J. Andrews is a private investigator and writer from California. He is the author of the chapbook I Close My Eyes and I Almost Remember, and his work has appeared in Relief, Rust + Moth, Pithead Chapel and EcoTheo Review, among others. He can be contacted at matthewjandrews.com.
James Patrick Reid is an artist and theologian. His website is sacredpaintings.org.
'A Better Resurrection' by Christina Rossetti
I have no wit, no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numbed too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
I lift mine eyes, but dimmed with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is in the falling leaf
O Jesus, quicken me.
My life is like a faded leaf,
My harvest dwindled to a husk;
Truly my life is void and brief
And tedious in the barren dusk;
My life is like a frozen thing,
No bud nor greenness can I see:
Yet rise it shall--the sap of Spring;
O Jesus, rise in me.
My life is like a broken bowl,
A broken bowl that cannot hold
One drop of water for my soul
Or cordial in the searching cold;
Cast in the fire the perished thing,
Melt and remould it, till it be
A royal cup for him my King:
O Jesus, drink of me.
Christina Rossetti (1830–1894) was an English poet.
Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876–1907) was a German expressionist painter.
'Wholeness' by Alexander Pope
What if the foot, ordained the dust to tread,
Or hand, to toil, aspired to be the head?
What if the head, the eye, or ear repined
To serve mere engines to the ruling mind?
Just as absurd for any part to claim
To be another, in this general frame;
Just as absurd, to mourn the tasks or pains
The great Directing Mind of all ordains.
All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul;
That, changed through all, and yet in all the same;
Great is the earth, as in the ethereal frame;
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees;
Lives through all life, extends through all extent;
Spreads undivided, operates unspent!
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;
As full, as perfect in vile man that mourns,
As the rapt seraph that adores and burns;
To him no high, no low, no great, no small;
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.
Oscar-Claude Monet (1840–1926) was a French impressionist painter.
Alexander Pope (1688–1744) was an English poet.
'Annunciation' by John Donne
Salvation to all that will is nigh;
That All, which always is all everywhere,
Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,
Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,
Lo! faithful Virgin, yields Himself to lie
In prison, in thy womb; and though He there
Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He'll wear,
Taken from thence, flesh, which death's force may try.
Ere by the spheres time was created thou
Wast in His mind, who is thy Son, and Brother;
Whom thou conceivest, conceived; yea, thou art now
Thy Maker's maker, and thy Father's mother,
Thou hast light in dark, and shutt'st in little room
Immensity, cloister'd in thy dear womb.
Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859–1937) was an American artist.
John Donne (1572–1631) was an English poet and an Anglican priest.
'In Memoriam A. H. H.' by Alfred Tennyson
Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;
Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
Thou madest Life in man and brute;
Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made.
Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
Thou madest man, he knows not why,
He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just.
Thou seemest human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood, thou.
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Our wills are ours, to make them thine.
Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they.
We have but faith: we cannot know;
For knowledge is of things we see
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.
Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,
But vaster. We are fools and slight;
We mock thee when we do not fear:
But help thy foolish ones to bear;
Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light.
Forgive what seem'd my sin in me;
What seem'd my worth since I began;
For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to thee.
Forgive my grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
I trust he lives in thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved.
Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
Confusions of a wasted youth;
Forgive them where they fail in truth,
And in thy wisdom make me wise.
Martin Ferdinand Quadal (1809–1892) was a Moravian-Austrian engraver and painter.
Alfred Tennyson (1809–1892) was an English poet.
'The Tables Turned' by William Wordsworth
Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?
The sun, above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.
Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There's more of wisdom in it.
And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your Teacher.
She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless--
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.
One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:--
We murder to dissect.
Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.
Frederick Fursman (1874–1943) was an American impressionist painter.
William Wordsworth (1770–1850) was an English poet.
'The Night' by Henry Vaughan
John III. 2
Through that pure virgin shrine,
That sacred veil drawn o'er Thy glorious noon,
That men might look and live, as glow-worms shine
And face the moon:
Wise Nicodemus saw such light
As made him know his God by night.
Most blest believer he!
Who in that land of darkness and blind eyes
Thy long-expected healing wings could see
When Thou didst rise!
And, what can never more be done,
Did at midnight speak with the Sun!
Oh, who will tell me where
He found Thee at that dead and silent hour?
What hallowed solitary ground did bear
So rare a flower;
Within whose sacred leaves did lie
The fullness of the Deity?
No mercy-seat of gold,
No dead and dusty cherub, nor carved stone,
But His own living works did my Lord hold,
And lodge alone,
Where trees and herbs did watch and peep
And wonder, while the Jews did sleep.
Dear Night! this world's defeat;
The stop to busy fools; care's cheek and curb;
The day of spirits; my soul's calm retreat
Which none disturb!
Christ's progress and His prayer-time;
The hours to which high Heaven doth chime.
God's silent, searching flight;
When my Lord's head is filled with dew, and all
His locks are wet with the clear drops of night;
His still, soft call;
His knocking-time; the soul's dumb watch,
When spirits their fair kindred catch.
Where all my loud, evil days
Calm and unhaunted as is thy dark tent,
Whose peace but by some angel's wing or voice
Is seldom rent;
Then I in heaven all the long year
Would keep, and never wander here.
But living where the sun
Doth all things wake, and where all mix and tire
Themselves and others, I consent and run
To every mire;
And by this world's ill-guiding light
Err more than I can do by night.
There is in God--some say--
A deep but dazzling darkness; as men here
Say it is late and dusky because they
See not all clear.
Oh, for that Night! where I in Him
Might live invisible and dim.
Nikolay Dubovskoy (1859–1918) was a Russian landscape painter.
Henry Vaughan (1621–1695) was a Welsh writer and a medical physician.
'Night' by William Blake
The sun descending in the west,
The evening star does shine;
The birds are silent in their nest,
And I must seek for mine.
The moon, like a flower,
In heaven's high bower,
With silent delight
Sits and smiles on the night.
Farewell, green fields and happy groves,
Where flocks have took delight.
Where lambs have nibbled, silent moves
The feet of angels bright;
Unseen they pour blessing;
And joy without ceasing,
On each bud and blossom,
And each sleeping bosom.
They look in every thoughtless nest,
Where birds are cover'd warm;
They visit caves of every beast,
To keep them all from harm.
If they see any weeping
That should have been sleeping,
They pour sleep on their head,
And sit down by their bed.
When wolves and tigers howl for prey,
They pitying stand and weep;
Seeking to drive their thirst away,
And keep them from the sheep.
But if they rush dreadful,
The angels, most heedful,
Receive each mild spirit,
New worlds to inherit.
And there the lion's ruddy eyes
Shall flow with tears of gold,
And pitying the tender cries,
And walking round the fold.
Saying, 'Wrath, by his meekness,
And, by his health, sickness,
Is driven away
From our immortal day.
'And now beside thee, bleating Lamb,
I can lie down and sleep;
Or think on Him who bore thy name,
Graze after thee and weep.
For, wash'd in life's river,
My bright mane for ever
Shall shine like the gold
As I guard o'er the fold.'
Henri Rousseau (1844–1910) was a French post-impressionist painter.
William Blake (1757–1827) was an English poet, painter and printmaker.
'A Song to David' by Christopher Smart (excerpt)
Sweet is the dew that falls betimes,
And drops upon the leafy limes;
Sweet Hermon's fragrant air:
Sweet is the lily's silver bell,
And sweet the wakeful tapers smell
That watch for early pray'r.
Sweet the young nurse with love intense,
Which smiles o'er sleeping innocence;
Sweet when the lost arrive:
Sweet the musician's ardour beats,
While his vague mind's in quest of sweets,
The choicest flow'rs to hive.
Sweeter in all the strains of love,
The language of thy turtle dove,
Pair'd to thy swelling chord;
Sweeter with ev'ry grace endu'd,
The glory of thy gratitude,
Respir'd unto the Lord.
Strong is the horse upon his speed;
Strong in pursuit the rapid glede,
Which makes at once his game:
Strong the tall ostrich on the ground;
Strong thro' the turbulent profound
Shoots xiphias to his aim.
Strong is the lion—like a coal
His eye-ball—like a bastion's mole
His chest against the foes:
Strong, the gier-eagle on his sail,
Strong against tide, th' enormous whale
Emerges as he goes.
But stronger still, in earth and air,
And in the sea, the man of pray'r;
And far beneath the tide;
And in the seat to faith assign'd,
Where ask is have, where seek is find,
Where knock is open wide.
Beauteous the fleet before the gale;
Beauteous the multitudes in mail,
Rank'd arms and crested heads:
Beauteous the garden's umbrage mild,
Walk, water, meditated wild,
And all the bloomy beds.
Beauteous the moon full on the lawn;
And beauteous, when the veil's withdrawn,
The virgin to her spouse:
Beauteous the temple deck'd and fill'd,
When to the heav'n of heav'ns they build
Their heart-directed vows.
Beauteous, yea beauteous more than these,
The shepherd king upon his knees,
For his momentous trust;
With wish of infinite conceit,
For man, beast, mute, the small and great,
And prostrate dust to dust.
Precious the bounteous widow's mite;
And precious, for extreme delight,
The largess from the churl:
Precious the ruby's blushing blaze,
And alba's blest imperial rays,
And pure cerulean pearl.
Precious the penitential tear;
And precious is the sigh sincere,
Acceptable to God:
And precious are the winning flow'rs,
In gladsome Israel's feast of bow'rs,
Bound on the hallow'd sod.
More precious that diviner part
Of David, ev'n the Lord's own heart,
Great, beautiful, and new:
In all things where it was intent,
In all extremes, in each event,
Proof—answ'ring true to true.
Glorious the sun in mid career;
Glorious th' assembled fires appear;
Glorious the comet's train:
Glorious the trumpet and alarm;
Glorious th' almighty stretch'd-out arm;
Glorious th' enraptur'd main:
Glorious the northern lights a-stream;
Glorious the song, when God's the theme;
Glorious the thunder's roar:
Glorious hosanna from the den;
Glorious the catholic amen;
Glorious the martyr's gore:
Glorious—more glorious is the crown
Of Him that brought salvation down
By meekness, call'd thy Son;
Thou that stupendous truth believ'd,
And now the matchless deed's achiev'd,
Determin'd, dar'd, and done.
Michael Steiner (b. 1955) is a German visual artist and magnetic painter.
Christopher Smart (1722–1771) was an English poet.