Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: Safe Menace

You may know that in addition to my artwork I also write poetry (posted on my blog Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?). For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.

Safe Menace

Pass through that section of the woods,
the claw is going to reach out for you,
they say
the old man and his
stiff-armed reach and his talons
sharpened on a rock

the old bird
straggle feathers blowing in the stiff wind
he could warn you where
but I think he’s friends with the old man.
That’s what they say. Don’t trust him.
The bright blue sky laughs.

You run along the line of branchless leafless lifeless trees
long-dead roots in dark damp soil
trunks riddled with insect holes
the wind rising and when the gray clouds move in
the scene is set. You run.

There are other routes home but
this is always the one you take
There is something you like about the gamble
the taunting of the old man and the bird
the escaping this one more time

the safe menace
of the known unknown
that everyone knows and runs from
the known unknown
you run with.

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 30