Image-ine: Warrior Canoe by Holly Friesen

Warrior Canoe by Holly Friesen

A Ladder Our Boat

When we make a tree a ladder, we climb
out of the flaming fire, through our fear.
We are each from earth’s guts spilled,
Persephone rising, wild mint lacing
loose braids, sheaves of grain in hand,
spring’s re-welcoming cheered.

When we make the ladder our boat, we sail on
a kiss of wind above the Hades of our making,
spirits water-rocked in Zeus’s arms, seeds
of the pomegranate bursting, our offspring

We strike our fevered blessings on the wood,
water-tight, wave at the moon we circle twice:
the light, our safe harbor, shore.


Write a poem of your own, based on Holly’s image or choose a line from Maureen’s poem as a starting place. Post on your blog and link to us (we love that), or just drop your poems here in the comment box.

Painting: “Warrior Canoe”, 30″ x 60″, by Holly Friesen. Used with permission. See more of Holly Friesen’s work in her online gallery. Poem by Maureen Doallas, author of Neruda’s Memoirs: Poems.


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  1. says

    I love this…

    “When we make a tree a ladder, we climb
    out of the flaming fire”

    It’s counterintuitive.

    The artwork is stunning. (Love the poem and the art together )

    • says

      I was so pleased Holly allowed us to use the image of her gorgeous painting, which has been sold. From the time I saw images of it in progress, I knew I’d have to write about it.


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