Sep. 13

the painting of Mary Cassatt


Only Art

I am delving, once again, into ekphrastic poetry.  I was quite intrigued to learn that the famous painter Mary Cassatt and I share an ancestor:  Jacques Cossart who arrived in America in 1662, settling with his family in New Amsterdam, now New York City.

 Only Art

The young mother sits in a chair

strangely intent on her stitching fingers

as her young daughter,      

perched across her lap,          

stares idly at the artist.

The silence of the scene        

mimics the silence of the canvas,

the thread pulling through the cloth making no sound.

Mary Cassatt, a grand dame of Impressionism,           

who never bore a child of her own,             

was obsessed with painting mothers and daughters,         

reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance Madonnas              

she had seen on European travels as a young girl.

She vowed early never to marry,             

to devote her life to art, only art.          

Even when her father refused to ...

Jul. 12

In memoriam . . .



We lost our Aunt Imogene this past spring.  In the photo I am standing between her and my brother Daryl Mitchell, whom we lost many, many years ago.  Imogene was one of a kind.  This is the poem I wrote for her funeral:


A one-name dame, no middle one

           ever needed

                  She is in angel hours now

Count the words she spoke

                        she heard

                        she read

                        she dreamed

     The spaces between words,

            the moments of silence

She looked back through her life in that final sleep

     Each birthday        Each  husband

     Each trip               Each glazed ceramic

     Each pan of cornbread        Each pitcher of sweet tea

She could have graced the pages of any fashion magazine

     This skinny, freckled little girl born in the back woods of Panola County

     This teenager who mailed letters to Hollywod for photographs of the stars

That slim, elegant figure

Those long, long legs

The family nose ...

Apr. 11

Spring is in the air


National Poetry Month

In honor of National Poetry Month, a few poems from one of my favorites:  Edna St. Vincent Millay



I am in love with him to whom a hyacinth is dearer

Than I shall ever be dear.

On nights when the field mice are abroad he cannot sleep:

He hears their narrow teeth at the bulbs of his  hyacinths,

But the gnawing at my heart he does not hear.



I drank at every vine.

   The last was like the first,

I came upon no wine.

   So wonderful as thirst.


I gnawed at every root.

   I ate of every plant.

I came upon no fruit

   So wonderful as want.


Feed the grape and bean

   To the vintner and monger;

I will lie down lean

   With my thirst and my hunger.

Oct. 22

. . . . . . . .


Sepulcrum Bellum

Sepulcrum Bellum


“I thought I saw it all when I went to Phrygia and saw thousands of soldiers and gleaming

horses … that fated day when the Amazons swept down to fight against men.”

King Priam (The Iliad)


The Romans were experts in the art of warfare.

They waged war against the Sabines,

the Gauls, the Macedonians,

the Carthaginians, the Amazons –

not the one-breasted warrior goddesses of Hellenic myth

who maimed their bodies to become better fighters –

but real, flesh-and-blood women:

Queen Boudicca of ancient Britain,

who is flogged, her daughters raped by their Roman captors;

Queen Zenobia of Palmyra,

who, once defeated, is taken to Rome as a spoil of war.


Here they are immortalized –

both the Romans and the Amazons –

locked in perpetual mortal combat

in the smooth silence of the stony sarcophagus.

Standing in the museum, admiring the piece in hushed awe,

we cannot hear the valiant war ...

Listening to the whispering pines

Hello. My name is Donna Cozart Pauley. Welcome to The Whispering Pines, a literary blog dedicated to my love of the written word. It is an eclectic collage of my life -- from my poems to my stories to my family to my pets to my causes to my photographs to my recipes to my love of teaching to my favorite literature. Please feel free to comment. Words are only important if they are heard or read. Just like those soundless trees falling in the forest.

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