Sunday, May 8, 2016

Shadows, Leaves, Roses... in Images and Words

A poet and music historian, I like to share the delights I experience every day in my new life in California (after almost 20 years, still "new"). This sense of bewilderment with life and nature is shared by children and convalescents. I once saw an older, frail woman shuffling along the sidewalk, with a hospital pallor still marking her face. . . She glowed with childlike wonder, admiring everything she saw. "Look at this leaf" - she said to me, "Isn't it amazing? Everything is so beautiful today..."

 My first solo exhibition, held at the Scenic Drive Gallery in Monrovia in September 2013 featured a selection of thousands of pictures taken in response to this admonition.... "look at this leaf..." I also look at the play of light and shadow, the reflections on the water, and the miraculous shapes of petals of my roses. My poems are often inspired by roses, and the love that they carry in their multi-petaled hearts. 

With a simple digital camera I take pictures of what I like to see in my neighborhood in California. An online journal, PoeticDiversity made me the Artist in Residence in their August 2009 issue. Photographs of roses appeared in the Epiphany Magazine, No. 16, October 2012 and in The Houston Literary Review, June 2009 visual arts issue. I participated in two group art shows, at the Scenic Drive Gallery in 2011 (Poets -Artists) and at the Colburn School of Music (associated with the American Paderewski Piano Competition in May 2013). 

I used my photos as illustrations in my poetry books, Rose Always and Miriam's Iris, published by Moonrise Press. I also designed all the Moonrise Press covers, often featuring my own photographs.


 Sunland Seasons in 30 Photos, Autumn 2009 

 Rose and Roses in 48 Photos, October 2010 
 Artist in Residence at Poetic Diversity, 2009 

Nature photography also livens up my online chapbooks, Poems and Stories, Glorias and Assorted Praises, and Poems for my Friend. My news photography of charity and music events have appeared in various papers and newsletters in the U.S. and Poland. But my favorites are roses... 

At the opening of my exhibit of photography and poetry at the Scenic Drive Gallery in September 2013, I read  a selection of poems that were either unpublished or appeared in Miriam's Iris  (the ones with numbers in titles), or Rose Always. 

Amor 6

the more I love
the more dangerous
life becomes
in its graphic beauty
carved with a dagger
stolen from time

the blade cuts
old wounds open

it slides on the skin
of the moment 

 pierced by knowing 

© 2006 by Maja Trochimczyk

Desert Rose

I grow roses in the desert
They wither in merciless sun

Their petals, scorched by the heat,
crumble into dust
from which they came

The magic of water and light
brings them back.
Open blossoms smile at me

One after one after one
they come to make love
with the air

They shrivel
to stay unchanged
clinging to life that left them

© 2001 by Maja Trochimczyk

Rosa Incognita

it had to be the eleventh,
the time of perfect absence

of all time’s measure,
the number so uncounted

that doubly prime –
the day of fullness

in a second there is
a universe never heard of

in a glimpse  –  a mystery
fully apprehended

once for all understood 
found and lost together 

all times swirling
in a glorious wreath of the present

St. Augustine was right –
sometimes God

makes a hole in Heaven,
for us to peek in

© 2000 by Maja Trochimczyk

Ellenai 6

with the noise
of unfurling wings
silence descended

turmoil within
my frightened self
into the glass surface
of tranquil seas
at sunset

angels account for
moments such as these
love’s cruel sweetness
my days are numbered
I’m caught again

of thought and sorrow
into the last vessel
of midnight calm

(c) 2001  by Maja Trochimczyk


I place you in the heart of my rose, dark red one,
with dew drops on its leaves.
Like a tricked-up baby
from Ann Geddes' postcard
you rest, snugly wrapped
in the comfort of my love.
"That too shall pass," they say,
"That too shall pass.
The rose will wither,
love will fade away."

Respectfully, I disagree.
I know the symmetry
of velvet petals
is but an opening
into a different universe,
a cosmic window,
I see it in the shyness
of your smile. Yes.
You are that lucky.
In the morning
when the curtains of mist
open above silver hills
carved from time
like a Japanese woodcut,
you taste freedom.
You found your true self
under the detritus
of disordered life.
Isn't it strange
that you've been saved
by the perfection
of just one rose?

Mira Mataric, Susan Dobay, Rick Wilson, Kathabela Wilson at Scenic Drive Gallery

The opening reception of my exhibition "Shadows - Leaves- Roses" featured a poetry reading with the accompaniment of Rick Wilson on fujara (bass flute from Slovakia) and shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute), divided into two parts: "Shadows and Leaves" and "The Geometry of Roses." Jean Sudbury provided an interlude between the two poetry presentations with her violin transcriptions of pieces by Chopin, Dvorak and Elgar.   Mira Mataric read her translation of "Memento Vitae" - a poem that is a subject of an international translation project and already appeared in Spanish, French, Polish and Serbian versions. The attendees enjoyed the show and the reception, thanks to the hospitality of Susan and Endre Dobay.

The exhibition;s program features the following explanation:

"The play of light and shadows, reflections on the water, miraculous shapes of rose petals, the veins on a leaf… This exhibit presents a close-up view of California landscapes – limited to the elemental shapes and colors found on a yucca flower, or a petal. These wonders are found in Sunland and Tujunga, distant from the urban core of Los Angeles, yet a vital part of the metropolis. The profusion of gardens and wildlife areas permeated with intense sunlight transform these small towns into places of magic – captured with a digital camera."

For the record, I admit to being influenced by Georgia O'Keefe and her monumental, sensual flowers. Yet, I want my roses to be just right, not too big, not too small, something to enjoy in my home or office. Something simple that's all around us, and taken for granted... yet, incredibly, intensely beautiful.

The album from the Opening and Poetry Reading is on Picasa Web Albums: 

An interview with Susan Dobay about my artistic interests is on YouTube:

The exhibition is on display, available by appointment only, until September 22, 2013 at the Scenic Drive Gallery, 125 Scenic Drive, Monrovia, CA (off Myrtle, exit from 210 go up towards the mountains, turn left into Scenic when the road starts to turn.

Reading love poems for roses, all red.

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