Posts Tagged ‘drawing’

Little Apocalypse, a poem

August 11, 2017 2 comments


RT has been uncharacteristically silent these past few months as various matters tangential to his writing but nonetheless important (for instance, his health) have continued to preoccupy him. The good news is that he has made significant progress on tablets 5 and 6 of Gilgamesh, hoping to finish the poem by fall. He has even at odd moments set down a brief poem.

This particular piece was inspired by Peregrine, the recently (and first) published collection of fellow scribbler, Tom Donlon. Tom’s impeccable craftsmanship and domestic themes have won RT’s admiration, especially since his poems have a way of opening out on broader perspectives.  Sadly, Peregrine (Franciscan University of Steubenville) is not commercially available, but the poem that sparked this piece, “Tsunami” is available in the collection, ONLY THE SEA KEEPS: Poetry of the Tsunami (Bayeux Arts, 2005, available on Amazon). 

A fine poet and a fine collection. Here is RT’s response:



(for Tom Donlon)

the voice of the day proceeds carefully

through the clouds, the

ritual of its trajectory a carpenter’s pencil

sketching out the pilot in his craft, the

child tottering through its first step, the

ballet lessons and headless Barbies. 


stillness of sermon, like sitting in traffic 

on route 9, tsunami of grace overwhelming 

the driver, pushing aside everything else, 


only the fact of its words shining in the long

silence, to be approached on knee over 

snow, rough tezontle stone,

tearing postulant flesh—almost as 

if with obsidian knife, the truth pouring out—

as once before jadeite gods opulent

in the carven glyph, now overturned

in the high, thin air glinting with dust.

, our lady of waving grass, 

Marina, one of the native gift to Cortés;

the horse rearing muscular like an angel,

panicked eye, flaring nostril—

Calmese! the ships are burning.

Copyright, Eric Quinn, 2017


Drawing: Cortes and Mallinali meet Mocteczuma II, November 9, 1519. Unknown Aztec artist. Public Domain. 

incipit, a poem

August 24, 2015 2 comments



what to do when the to do list gets too long?

write down a few words, of course.  RT



i should have been smarter. not

that the moment was easy. i was

avoiding her, as i usually do, or at

least the possibility of happiness.

which isn’t always so pretty.

not to mention the guilt,

which pursues me like a poem…

but this was about her, wasn’t it?

insipid, some might say, but

the beginning keeps repeating itself,

longing to distend into a middle.

distill itself  still? that can’t be

right… Milton, million? weathercocked or not,

i called.

it’s up and striding among the billions. horse marine.


copyright © 2015, The Rag Tree


Drawing: The Mermaid (1887). Frederick Stuart Church, WikiCmns; Public Domain.


Ah, Madrid!!!

RT never managed to visit Spain while his family was posted in France; the deal was that he got to go to Russia, and his younger brother visited Spain the following year. RT has always been satisfied with the trade-off.

But this marvelous early-modern view of Madrid makes him wonder. The seat of the Spanish government pretty much continuously since 1561, Madrid boasts an impressive inventory of architecture, museums, and Bohemian venues. And then there is the rest of Spain; RT at the moment wouldn’t mind spending a few days in Toledo, Spain’s “City of Three Cultures.”

RT has heard that an intense, spiritual beauty is to be found throughout the Iberian peninsula, in part the gift of a long, complex, and passionate history.

DrawingView of Madrid from the west, facing the Puerta de la Vega (1562). Artist: Anton van den Wyngaerde (called in Spain Antonio de las Viñas). WikiCmns; Public Domain.


Osage Chief

February 5, 2014 2 comments

File:Little osages.jpg

Politics is the art of the possible. This old rubric takes on special intensity when we consider how to undo, to the extent possible, the damage to the native peoples done by the arrival and expansion of the European peoples in North America. Surely patience and goodwill (of the extraordinary kind) are required.

RT ran across this superb portrait of an Osage Indian Chief while doing research on the history and status of Indian reservations. He offers it here as a tribute to the pride, beauty, and native gift of America’s first inhabitants.


Portrait: Chief of the Little Osages; bust-length, profile showing hair style. (c. 1807) Artist: Charles B.J. de Saint-Memin. WikiCmns; Library of Congress. Public Domain.

Krazy Kat, Kommical Kyootie

February 4, 2014 Leave a comment

File:1922 0121 krazykat det 650.jpg


for some reason, the cartoon character Krazy Kat sprang up in RT’s mind yesterday. between the cubist graphics and the zany plot and words, the cartoon strip remains one of America’s great (or at least funny) artistic achievements.  RT


Sunday Cartoon Page: Krazy Cat, published 1/21/22 in the New York Evening Journal. Author: George Herriman. WikiCmns; Public Domain.


Two Figures: Something Fun…

November 12, 2013 1 comment

File:Albert Müller Zwei Figuren 474.jpg

something fun…enjoy!   RT

Drawing: Two Figures (by 1926); Albert Muller. Crayon on paper. WikiCmns; Public Domain.

Be Passersby (A poem & a book recommendation)

October 12, 2013 Leave a comment



Way back in 2007, RT had just moved into new digs in Martinsburg and was feeling his oats. Bored during lunch hour, he began to read around on Wikipedia’s pages dealing with religion, an exercise that taught him much and led to the acquisition of Marvin Meyer’s The Unknown Sayings of Jesus, which is a marvelous book. The book’s compact size and its scores of Jesus’s  teachings you might not have run across before are worth the purchase price by themselves. But the endnotes, in RT’s opinion, are even better, including sayings from the Manichean Psalm Book that, well, kind of blew RT away. Talk about gorgeous poetry!

Well, with all this inspiration, a poem had to be in the offing. Here it is, with Jesus’s shortest known saying as the title:





Be Passersby

The heart is a dog dead

*******for days


the children might venture

*******the self a bridge

********of what teeth;

****plausible answers, and

****honored, if not by

time, then by interpretation.


Then let us translate

****the law

*******he would correct

****as death translates the body:


forgetting possession

****peeling off the vestments of flesh

*******to walk as naked light

through the word

impeaching the brief flower

****with its glory.


From the storm

****of questions, sarcastic remarks,

*******people taking notes, eating,

rolling around

***************in the autumn mud,

something sensible would finally emerge–

“What about the dog?”



****or stiff and dumb

****they rise

at Gabriel’s command

****to chase the weeping sisters

**********************and their dove

****to climb as

*the milk of trees towards

the supple body

of sky.


We are words, he said,

*******that have been burnt.

Copyright © 2013, The Rag Tree

Engraving: The Star from the Vieville Tarot Deck, France, c. 1650. WikiCmns;


Sarmatia–A Map

September 22, 2013 Leave a comment


Wowzaah…what a map!   RT


RT’s Related Posts: 1) Hereford Mappa Mundi


Image: Sarmatia and Scythia, Russia and Tartaria (17th cent.); User: Nasz. WikiCmns; Public Domain.


It’s only natural.

September 18, 2013 Leave a comment


a bit of whimsy…  RT

(reposted from Foxes and Tea)


It’s only natural..

Sketch for Portrait of Astronomer | Schizzo per Ritratto di Astronomo

September 14, 2013 Leave a comment