Red View

End of day hunger
our meal not met,
We canvas the grounds 
under blooded sky

Meadow so altered
Our desire- consternation 
We evolve our own fiction
searching for life

But oh the air, oh oh so
lovely the hues
of magenta and pink
rose cinnabar, and lovely
lush Vermillion

But wonder now now
Stop pause left pause, right,
Who are we now,
in such 
a strange bold land?

View from Below

Richard metz 4/22

Lying on the ground
looking at clouds.
I’m so happy your here after
years of beseeching,
So close i can smell 
the tangy scent, the oil in your wings

Your pallbearer suits
gleam in the light
You jostle and joke, and think of the morrow
Waiting, like boozers, for the lights to come up
Last call, good ladies
Ladies and gents

My friends, gather round
to toast my savored life.
But where’s the toast, or the glasses?
The generous words 
for generous deeds?

What did i do, why the piercing crooked look?
Am i so guilty, so completely deceived 
by the crafty storyteller
that resides inside?
Why don’t you see me
as I wanted to be?
Ennobled, embodied,
and longing for the sky.

You mumble and bauble
And cackle and purr.
Like revelers at a wake
looking down at their decrepit old pal,
With the clear eye of knowing
My mistakes and bad choices
You accuse, you accuse

I see in your eyes
Personal histories and shipwrecks,
My fools errands at windmills
Lacking all restraint and good sense.
Found wanting of course
A life wasted by ease.

Wait, please wait 
My brain squeezes itself
There must be more time
To prove i am worthy
Of someone’s good cheer.
But the judging black eyes
Say no one is coming
Under their breath i can hear so softly
Nevermore, nevermore.

Soon Ill be dinner
That’s the tension, and frisson
The fog settles in, gather closer my friends.
The soil settles inside me
Its warmth so pronounced.

Up Close in the field

A view towards intimacy and environs. To understand crows and ravens, one must understand their relationship to their environment - Bernd Heinrich. 

Crows and Ravens speak to the mystery of life, an embrace of the darkness. They are darkness in the daytime.  For me a lesson here is to learn how not to fear the darkness- perhaps to accept it. Carl Jung considered the raven as a symbol, representing the shadow self, or the dark side of the psyche. Acknowledging this dark side, we can effectively communicate with both halves of ourselves. But Most of us do much to avoid the darkness. We are afraid. It is this avoidance that therapeutically is a problem. Crows and Ravens encourage us to dig deep into ourselves.

Because Crows and ravens eat the dead, they can be associated with ‘death eaters, who possess the spirits of the dead.  They are spotted in many stories on battlefields, so giving rise to these stories. Eating the dead can mean overcoming death. I’ll bet that they acknowledge and consider how the dead died, smelling it to make sure there are no poisons. 

Their cry’s, their songs, are harsh sounding at first. There is a seriousness to the resonance of their calls. Most birds whistle, or tweet, but not the corvids. The cry of the crow encourages us to be bolder and braver, to speak out. There is a kind of fierce individuality in this as well. Crows and Ravens are endlessly curious, and that too, is a message to us. Never stop investigating the world and its mysteries. 

Crows are considered archetypes of the trickster, and dark consequences come from their actions. In fairy tales, they provide a darkness to balance the  lightness and humor. The symbology of light and dark, day and night, is based on a fictional dualism. Each contains the other. We as creatures have both, as our history has shown,  but I think it’s more subtle gradations. In popular culture, there is the damaged hero, like Batman, who sees his dark side. 

Druids believed Crows held the memory and mystery of the world, and tried to decode their language. I’ve been listening to the number of Crow caws, and the pattern. It doesn't seem random. Some believed they took joy in holding their secrets close. Celtic druids believed that Crows were an augury, and sought to divine the future from their flight patterns, and calls. Crows and ravens are also symbols of the unknown, what is ‘behind the veil’, of death and beyond. In Celtic, Nordic and Native American legend, Crows are said to carry the spirit of the death to the afterlife. They can be said to be an intermediary.

In the myths of Ancient Greece, crows were at first white, and messengers. but Apollo- the god of prophecy,  turned them black because they brought such him such bad news.

Many ancient gods are associated with crows because of their power. In ancient Chinese legends, Crows are said to be the father of the Asian people, and are given great respect.

The Latin name Corvid, identifies the crow and raven family. The word is derived in part from the word cunning. They are smart, known at times to outsmart other birds, animals and humans. Many legends have spoken of people who consult the crows for wisdom. Ravens have been known to be able to be trained to speak. In Welsh traditions, ravens are connected with the hero Bran, whose name means raven, and he was the wise holder of ancestral memories. In Nordic legends, the god Odin, whose was known as the Raven god,  is accompanied by two ravens, who represented the power of the thought, and the ability to interpret reality. He would send them out each day, when they returned to Odin, they would tell him all they saw.

In Native American beliefs, Crows and Ravens are creatures of metamorphosis, and symbolize change and transformation. They are considered tricksters because they have shape-shifting abilities. They would also be consulted to help see beyond what was visible to the eye. They were thought to be able to perform magic and long distance healing as well.

Medium & Dimensions:

"Red View" - gouache; 14" x 18"

"View From Below" - ink; 38" x 48"

"Up Close In the Field" - ink; 48" x 38"

about the artist

Richard Metz is a 64-year-old Philadelphia based artist, father, husband, former art teacher, writer, and activist with a focus on environmental and social issues. He lives just outside Philadelphia, in Erdenheim, PA. He graduated from Tyler School of Art in 1980, and received an MFA from Maine College of Art in 2000. His artwork since then has included painting on non-traditional materials, sculpture, installations, performance and street theater, printmaking, and illustrated stories. He has shown widely and his works are in many collections, private and corporate. Metz has been chosen to participate in artist residencies at different art centers around the country each summer, in places as diverse as Nova Scotia, Philadelphia, Washington State, South Carolina and Massachusetts, where he has created an ephemeral outdoor installation using natural non-toxic pigments on the trees.

Works in the last 15 years have explored visions of the natural world and the creatures that live there. His strong environmental activism preserving open spaces and reducing pollution necessitates a focus on many environmental health considerations in his artwork: using non-toxic materials, many natural pigments, less technological solutions, and a smaller carbon energy footprint. His series about crows and ravens began at the start of the Covid epidemic and is ongoing with a focus on the relationship between the creatures and land in different places and seasons.



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