Tag: Joni Mitchell

book note

This morning I began reading Gathered Light: The Poetry of Joni Mitchell’s Songs (Edited by Lisa and John Sornberger; Three O’Clock Press, 2013).

A picture of the beautiful cover, painted by Joni, and more about the book, can be read on this page at her website.  She endorsed the project.

Photo Challenge – Life Imitates Art

“I really don’t know clouds at all”
from Both Sides, Now, by Joni Mitchell (1967)

For Life Imitates Art – “This week, find inspiration in a piece of art. Then, imitate it.”

Lake Michigan and sky


I also think about Georgia O’Keeffe, and her influence.

My Poem For Georgia O’Keeffe

The ripples of a life:
Your black iris hangs
In my study–
(the walls are grey and
you would approve);
How could you know the beauty
You would bring into our lives
You, who painted flowers
big to make us see–
Intensity of color to
Mirror intensity of soul,
And, having found
Expression, tranquillity of

You couldn’t have known, not truly.
You were simply working hard,
Faithful to what you saw.

You painted your way
And your passing grieves me.

Published in HARD ROW TO HOE, Reviews From Rural America (Winter 1994, Vol III).

The print referred to is from a showing of O’Keeffe’s work at The Madison Art Center:  Paintings 1919 – 1977.
March 3 –  April 29, 1984. 

A few of my garden journal photos of an iris:

Ellen Grace Olinger

Blessings In Return

Joni Mitchell’s art comforted me many times over the years.  I may have been in junior high when I first heard her voice.  In the mid-1990s, I also began listening to Amy Shreve.  They both need prayers now, for their health.  My turn to bless.

Joni Mitchell’s official website may be viewed here.

Amy Shreve’s official site may be viewed here.

Poetry found me through the Psalms and liturgy of the Lutheran church, then through contemporary music and writers, on to small press poetry journals, and especially haiku and other short forms of poetry.  I could never reread or listen to all the art on our shelves, which recalls a poem from my archives.

books and music
from over the years
live on these shelves

even if I don’t
reread or listen again

somehow their
healing influence
is in these words

Ellen Grace Olinger

WordPress Prompt – Going Obsolete

The Daily Post prompt today is Going Obsolete:

“Of all the technologies that have gone extinct in your lifetime, which one do you miss the most?”

Large album covers occur to me first – though I know they are not extinct – as CDs became more popular.  I remember Joni Mitchell’s paintings, for example.  Her official website posted an update about her health on June 28, 2015.

The old album covers gave the artists a larger space.  The visual art was a part of the music.  I am not current with all the ways people listen to music now.

I think I will always enjoy both work online and print journals and books.  As I’ve said often, I see collaboration.  I have old books from my parents that I may never read, but they are a part of this room.

During my mother’s last illness, we kept her newspapers and books near, even though she was not reading then.  We read to her, and their physical presence was a comfort – represented who she was in an essential way.

Creativity, continued

Poetry came to my life through the liturgy and hymns of my Lutheran church when I was young.  I’ve been praying the Psalms, then, for as long as I can remember.  Then I heard the music of my generation.

Joni Mitchell was one of the first artists I heard, who wrote and sang her own songs.  She grew and changed over the years. Joni is not well at this time, and her Official Website is providing updates about her recovery and health.

I also saw Georgia O’Keeffe’s art. There is a Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.  I’ve seen many of her paintings at the Milwaukee Art Museum.  I have not been to the Milwaukee museum for a few years, so do not know about their current collections.

Emily Dickinson surely had to believe in her art and trust the future.  Bill Waters and I wrote about her a little in the comments at his site this week.  I’m reading i told my soul to sing: finding God with Emily Dickinson by Kristin LeMay (2013, Paraclete Press, Brewster, Massachusetts).

For The Roses – Joni Mitchell


I was looking at nature photos at wpclipart.com.  When I saw this photo of “trailing arbutus,” I thought of Joni Mitchell’s early album, FOR THE ROSES.  This is a quote from the end of a song by the same name.  Her lyrics are available at her official website.  http://jonimitchell.com

It was just the arbutus rustling
And the bumping of the logs
And the moon swept down black water
Like an empty spotlight

For The Roses, by Joni Mitchell

“Love’s the greatest beauty” Joni Mitchell, from 1 Corinthians 13

Today the prompt at Daily Post is to take a line from a favorite song and turn it into the title of a post.  http://www.dailypost.wordpress.com


Joni Mitchell
From her song,
Wild Things Run Fast

Joni Mitchell’s version of 1 Corinthians 13 (1982, Crazy Crow Music) is exquisite.  She also wrote about Job in the Old Testament on another album.

We aspire to this kind of love our whole lives, and like Job, we are baffled and tested at times.  As we know, art is about the universals, the “human condition.”

Joni Mitchell’s voice is lower now, full of life wisdom.  I wrote many lessons listening to her quiet songs when I was a young teacher.  If you haven’t seen Joni’s paintings, you’d enjoy visiting her site.  Her poetry is there also.  http://www.jonimitchell.com

“Fractions in me
Of faith and hope and love
And of these three
Love’s the greatest beauty.”

Joni’s version of 1 Corinthians 13: 13