"dazzle gradually"

2015 poems, paintings, new art & photography--a diary, a discipline, and a delight.

Polly McCann

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Remember This

Remember this.
This day walking
this steep slope
this bosom of lawn
where GG
climbed as a girl,
holding her sister's
hand. Blanche, their
mother determined
to have a picnic
after taking the
train. Union Station,
the same as it is now,
only full of...
trains. Kansas City
emptied out,
it's people
lost to a war,
death by
words through
Now an obelisk
rises above
an unlit pond
glints as oil
in a pool like
tears from
the cherubim
who hide
their faces
peace into
stone, for they
too know
wars come
and go but
last forever.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Time

It's time for Easter.
Every year, we act
out the parts again
to remember what was
heavy enough to make
time run backwards
and death lose his grip.
T.S. Eliot says Time,
is an occupation for the 

I know it's acted out
by the lowly. On Maunday
Thursday the workers
at the car wash kneel
like Jesus with a deciple
then dry with white towels
to wash away the grime
from where I've been.

I felt baptized, like the 32
people who were baptized on
Palm Sunday, and the life
guard dunked in too-- in the
the name of the Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit-- which made

Three-three years Jesus stayed
here. I've seen the places
he walked. The rocks
still look ready to cry out for
Eliot's half guessed Incarnation.

Last Sunday, children waved
palm branches. Early pilgrims,
they shouted they'd love Jesus forever,
a boy asked why his father never
came back from war, if Jesus could.

Tomorrow I will get up and take my
two remaining children to church.
We will wear colors as bright as
the Eggs we will hide in the park
behind our back gate.

The dog will bark, the bridge over
Shoal creek will solemnly preside,
and we will laugh in the damp
new grass, knowing Jesus
is still alive, and promises
only sunny days in eternity--

knowing one day we will
return to our fathers
if they cannot come to us

knowing the lamb means
we were spared, we are
clean, all is reversed,
and time will have no
hold on us anymore.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Ode to the Dead End

Dead End,
your the place I like to be.
I love your yellow warning
that says nothing can come in.
I love your little white houses
with porches full of birdbaths
made from poured cement--
the girl who pours water
from a wineskin, the Cherubim
baby with fat cheeks, stone
feathers. The wrought iron
railings painted black. The
green striped awnings to
keep out rain. Dead End,
I love you. Here is where
I always want to sit. Here
is where I'll watch the world
go by. Because someone
placed two vinyl covered
chairs here, someone in
hopes of taking it
easy at the end
of the road. And in
that hope is where
we will meet. We will
drink out of icy glasses.
We will hear the roar of motors
and the din of traffic where
they cannot come.
Ours will only be shade
and the small hum
at the end of our

Saturday, March 28, 2015


The man at the conservatory
in khaki with the creased brow
and gray locks down to his collar
crouched under a small tree with a
ring of brown paper stalks and said--

Everything in nature has a purpose.

The peppermint smell in the hulls
keeps bugs and predators away
poison ivy berries are a Blue Jay's
favorite snack. You know that means
I have a purpose too.

Everything about me has a purpose,
I'd like to know what that purpose
is, not to be abused but to belong
not to be neglected but to be protected
not to be forgotten but to survive
not to be abandoned, but thrive.

Everything in nature has a purpose. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lent 2015

This year it doesn't feel like Lent.
Where is the gray?
Where is the sadness?
There is hardly any waiting
it's warmer each day

This year it doesn't feel like Lent.
Where is the gray?
Where is the fasting?
There is nothing left to give up
I've given it all away.

No, this year Lent is short
Where is the gray?
Where is the rain?
The crocus opens up
more every day.

It's purple spikes
sharp, but have
nothing to cut
for I am already

I am here
to stay.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Things to Find...

So the art and illustration show is up again. This time at Woodneath MCPL library in Liberty, MO.  I created a bit of a scavenger hunt for visitors who come to the show.

Things to Find

1.  Can you find my Great Grandmother Benton's oil paint brushes in an old Pringle's can? (Yes, shirt-tail relation to the famous artist, Thomas Hart Benton).
2. My grandfather's books from his office where he used to prepare sermons for Missouri churches?
3. How about sea shells and a feather from our vacation to Branson two years ago?
4. Can you find the old spools of thread from Pennsylvania where I went to art school?
5. Or the ink bottle and pen nibs from the Smithsonian-- close to where I went to high school?
6. Can you find the old water color paints from Grandma Irene? She won an art contest back during the World's Fair?
7. How many sketch books can you see?
8.  How many eggs to you count in the display case?
9.  How many paint brushes do you see in the display?
10.  Do you see the hand-sewn item made by my little sister in pink and blue?
11. My favorite doll?
12. The famous cartoon character, Cluckers, created by my brother, the artist, and my soft plush toy rendition of him?
13.  How many self portraits do you see?
14.  How many trees do you count?
15. Which story illustrated in the display do you want to hear the most?
16. Can you find the copy of Alice through the Looking Glass?
17. If you could walk into the world pictured in one of these paintings, which would you visit?
18. Which painting looks like it's made from recycled materials?
19.  Find two more paintings in the library that look like they belong with the ones behind glass.
20. You win a prize if you send me your answers to the scavenger hunt.  Thanks for visiting!

Thanks for visiting! Come on out to meet the artist at the library's Access Arts event on April 18th!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Guest Blogger- "All the King's Men"

Meet my guest blogger. My art student, high school junior, Brooke Bowlin, wrote the following poem after Dorothy Parker's Star Light, Star Bright (1883-1967).

"All the King's Men"

Humanity is fragile.
We fall and we break,
Skin scarred with our cracks
Counting every mistake.

No man can heal another,
It's the blind leading the blind.
I can't fix your pieces
And you can't fix mine.

No man of the King,
Not even His best,
Can ever come close
To saving the rest.

Salvation comes from the King alone--
His overwhelming love
That heals from the throne.