I'm back with another poem inspired by the art of my dear friend Tarah Trueblood. Writing about our first collaboration, I mentioned her painting, "Black Over Fire" that graces the cover of my book, Burnt Offerings, and that inspired me to interpret "Black Over Fire" in poetry as our next collaboration.
When I asked her for a blurb about the painting, I was amazed at how similarly my words echoed her thoughts as she painted. But maybe I shouldn't have been surprised, given the longevity and depth of our friendship.
Difficult circumstances and hard times swirl though our lives, and when I write I am reconnected to my creativity which in turn connects me to the creative source of all life (which I call God), and in that reunification, my fears ebb as I touch once again the faith and bravery in my essential self.
That's the hope I have for all of us, to see our connectedness to a powerful force for good that binds us to one another. It's a message of hope that carries me, and others who identify as Christian, through this week of struggle and pain, that dares to search for the holy in the depths of suffering.
"Black Over Fire" by Tarah Trueblood
Acrylic on Canvas
Notes on the painting: All my life I was taught to fear darkness and even blackness.This painting was inspired by a deeper sense of knowing—that after the fire, the destruction, loss, terror, or fear, darkness falls—and out of darkness emerges hope and new life. This is the cycle of life in which we must trust—again and again.
Black Over Fire
by Cathy Warner
“Be careful,” our parents pled.
“Safety first,” our teachers said.
Take Shelter, the signs read.
If they believed we belonged secure inside
these solid walls, sequestered, ensconced
then who were we to doubt?
It’s not difficult to turn the deadbolt
in its lock, to draw the curtains closed
and block out the wild world.
But deep down the soul
never stops smoldering.
All it takes is a pinprick for light
to pierce the dark and a single spark
can ignite obsidian black
with flaming fringes and fiery tongues
that skirt the halls and scale the walls
until the blaze, emboldened
batters down the door
and all restraints are shattered.
Then the world’s gone molten, thick-furrowed
life exploding everywhere
like seeds once dormant
finally free to grow.
I am a writer who, in December 2011, fortified by a new MFA, empty nest, and changes in my husband's employment, relocated from my native California to Washington state to see what would unfold next.