Sunday, November 08, 2009

To Elaine Calzolari 12/30/50-11/8/09



Astolat. Public art by Elaine Calzolari

My friend and sister-in-law Elaine Calzolari died early this morning. A sculptor whose innovative work with stone revolutionized the field, her favorite work was Astolat, named after the legendary home of the fair maiden Elaine of Arthurian legend.

It is my privilege to have shared her life and death along with her daughter Miranda Paley. We should all be so blessed to exit earth with such a brave and loving soul as Miranda at our side. Elaine's favorite poem was "Witnessing" by Gary Miranda, the perfect tribute to this mother/daughter team. Godspeed Elaine!

Witnessing

Beneath the leaves of a plant, that's named for milk
that bleeds milk, we search for chrysalides,
things that I've never seen, but whose name I like.
And I think as I look of all the things

you've taught me to name--larkspur, loose-
strife, sea lavender, plants called hens
and chickens, butter and eggs, your eyes
bright with such knowledge and solid as nouns.

Just so, you tell me now of creatures
who choose the underbelly of these leaves to make
wombs of, studded with gold, from which emerge
Monarchs that range the length of the Atlantic

in hordes--one more fact I must have missed
by skipping the fourth grade. And when, today
we find no trace of anything resembling this
miracle you mention, and I'm about to say

you made it up, you bend down, break a pod,
and blow unlikely butterflies in the sky's face-
not black and orange like Monarchs, but cloud-
thought white, or like the way I mark my place

when I read your eyes, which witnessing claim:
This is the world. Try to learn its name.
Witnessing.

7 comments:

Ruth said...

My condolences to you and the family. She was far too young to leave...
Love the poem.

Jan said...

I am reading you from far across the country - but wanted to send my sympathies winging to you this morning.

dorsey said...

Oh, Judy. I love the sculptures Not so fond of death. Good thoughts to you and yours

kenju said...

Sorry for your loss.

Thanks for the visit today. I didn't put in the post that Jim had an app't. with a male doctor (whose name reminded us of Ali Baba) We did meet him, after the lady doc did the exam. His fingers were like sausages, so I think Jim was pleased that he had the woman - although he wouldn't say so....LOL

Arlyn said...

I knew Elaine as a Senate Chaplain for 11 years. She was so warm and welcoming to me. Each year I summed up the year's legislation in a poem and she really enjoyed those. As a cancer survivor, we talked about her cancer just once - obviously she was about living, not dying. I wish we had talked more about her art because our oldest son is an artist in Chicago. God's blessings to all who mourn her and miss her terribly.

Rev. Arlyn Tolzmann

jeanmac said...

Sending hugs to you and the family. Too young a loss. The poem is very beautiful and touching as is the art.

Mauigirl said...

So sorry for your loss, am just catching up here, sorry my condolences are so late.