PAULA KUITENBOUWER is a Dutch nature artist. Her particular special gift is to help us appreciate the beauty of the natural world. I’m pleased that she’s compiled a portfolio of her art into a book that includes twenty-four of her drawings along with thirteen short explanations. This master of the tools of her trade shares with us the kind of beauty that can only be found through sustained observation and a meditative approach to art. Paula’s work has inspired a number of my poems but the poem featured below was really fun to write.
Several years ago Paula wrote an explaination to go with a colored sketch that featured a beetle. Since Paula is a good writer as well as a fine artist, the first line was both an homage to her unutterable respect for life and absolute poetry filled with the promise of story.
“I found a Carabidae beetle in a bucket with water and regretted its death by drowning… “
The line put me in mind of Isak Dinesen‘s unforgettable opening for Out of Africa,
“I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills . . . “
Something about those evocative sentences lets you know there’s a good story to come. And there was.
“It lay there for at least an hour and I hoped so much it would give a sign of life. Then I did the most crazy thing imaginable; I turned it on its back, squeezed it gently, and gave it heart massage (don’t ask). Three drops of water came out. I have no clue why I did such a weird thing. Would somebody tell me he or she had given cardiac massage to a beetle, I would have laughed out loud.” [Paula Kuitenbrouwer]
Check out Paula’s fine art at Mindful Drawing.
I REGRETTED ITS DEATH BY DROWNING
after Paula Kuitenbrouwer
the garden floating in violet and ruby hues,
by the side of the house, a beetle floats too,
so jewel-like, amethyst and brilliant against
the dull gray water, it does not move
it lies there still as the dead of noon across
a bone-colored desert, and her hand so white,
wing-like flutters against its rigor, laying it
on the table, by a pad to sketch with pencils
that minuscule life, no will to release it
into whatever beetle heaven there might be,
laying tender finger to knead a tube-like heart
holding her breath, willing air into spiracles
wishful thinking? a flicker from the antennae?
slight movement of a leg? perhaps, perhaps
some healing pressure, one gentle push,
three drops of water, success in late hours
to savel a beetle, to sketch in varied colors
with time to hug the child and sip hot tea …
a creature rescued from death by drowning
and cherish the mindful drawing for a memory
– Jamie Dedes
© 2012, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Photo credit ~ David Wagner, Public Domain Pictures.net
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