I’ve always loved the creative exercise of pairing art images with verse. Below are visuals, quotes, poetry, etc. which have spoken to me this past year or so. May they speak to you, too.

(Note: Known artists/writers are credited for their work when I’ve been able to find the source.)


I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

– Stanley Kunitz

layered reflections by david dunlop

‘Layered Reflections’ by David Dunlop

…the water is not clear,
the water is not still…

You have tasted the fire on your tongue
till it is swollen black
with a prophetic joy:
“Burn with me!
The only music is time,
the only dance is love.”


Living is strife and torment, disappointment and love and sacrifice, golden sunsets and black storms. I said that some time ago, and today I do not think I would add one word.

– Laurence Olivier


We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.

― Maya Angelou

Emergence pat gellenbeck‘Emergence’ by Pat Gellenbeck

sophia wisdom beauty painting

What awaits behind the door,
The whole you never fed?

The Doorway by Mela Richardson‘The Doorway’ by Mela Richardson

“Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that’s what makes you strong.” ― Sarah Dessen

Hiding Brick Wall

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”

― Barbara Kingsolver, ‘Animal Dreams’

animal dreams


1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.


“Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn one’s back on life.”

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

m twain - living

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise

― William Blake, ‘Eternity’

joyful being

To be nobody-but-yourself ― in a world which is doing its best,

night and day, to make you everybody else ― means to
fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and
never stop fighting.

~ e. e. cummings

be yourself street art

Why are we so full of restraint? Why do we not give in all directions? Is it fear of losing ourselves? Until we do lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves.

― Henry Miller

bright hued tree

“I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things. Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world — prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own closest comrades I would live my beautiful ideal.”

― ‘Red Emma’ Goldman, Living My Life

red woman grafitti

A credo for living with passion and creating a life worthy of your inner fire…

jack london credo

behold by wenzel hablikWenzel Hablik, painter and graphic artist, architect, designer, and craftsman of the early twentieth century, associated with German Expressionism, painted this piece after his solo ascent of Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain, in 1906. This feat was a formative experience for him and quite an accomplishment at that time.

“Behold!… I am that which must always overcome itself.” -Friedrich Nietzsche


“A bit of advice

Given to a young Native American
At the time of his initiation:
As you go the way of life,
You will see a great chasm. Jump.
It is not as wide as you think.”

-Joseph Campbell

heart hands ocean

Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film.

– Ansel Adams

sand  contours

“Believe in the holy contour of life.”

-Jack Kerouac

unapologetic brightness

All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.

― Henry Miller

leap in the dark

“We have only one life during which to make our short existence in the world somewhat valuable. Painting our lives with emotions is our personal free choice and the choice of our self-consciousness… How much more we can paint our lives with the soft colors of our emotions, the more our lives will begin to look like works of art. Whether anybody can appreciate these art masterpieces is a conundrum which is strictly related to the development level of the consciousness of humankind. May our emotions kill us softly.” ~Anonymous

life is a work of art

“Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.”

― Jorge Luis Borges, ‘Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings’

tiger fire

Live fully. There is only now. No one can live for you.

Go now, and live

Basic elemental instinct to survive

Stirs the higher passions
Thrill to be alive…

Anything can happen…

― Neil Peart, ‘Prime Mover’

prime mover

Hold your fire…


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