Universal Tree

Artwork by Patti Johnson

Johnson - Tree


Unfortunately, the additional pieces for this year’s Ekphrastic Exhibit were not installed. Instead, they are going to be posted here in the blog. This is one of those.


FSC Ekphrastic Project 2016

Perhaps because of my own conflict with the original poem for this project, I have put off the blog for it this year. Oh well, I can dig in deep to my honesty pond and go forward.

First, I was a bit bothered by the flow of the poem, which I found online in another blog. It just didn’t seem to flow that well. I started with a piece from the old grey UU hymnal, known as Singing the Living Tradition (SLT), which also has readings of original poems and writings. Here is the one I started with:


An awe so quiet I don’t know
when it began.

A gratitude had begun to sing in me.

Was there some moment dividing
song from no song?

When does dewfall begin?

When does night fold its arms
over our hearts to cherish them?

When is daybreak?

– Denise Levertov


I put the first line into a google search and came to this site:


If you go down a little on that page, you will come to the poem we used, entitled “The Womb of Stars.”

However, presenting the poem in the April workshops, it just kept bothering me that the piece had this weird flow about it. I even purchased a collected poem collection of Levertov. And finally, after looking around on the internet, I found that #445 in the SLT Hymnal is the first part of the poem we used: The Womb of Stars by Joy Atkinson, a UU minister. Somehow the two poems were rather clumsily put together by someone and that’s the rest of the story.

Still, we go forward with the exhibit for another couple of weeks. I am just now starting the blog of this year’s ekphrastic exhibit, which is filled with original art (both poetic and visual forms) and some which didn’t make it up on the walls, though here they will be part of the official exhibit.

The first part of the poem we used (as one) were these lines from Joy Atkinson:

The womb of stars embraces us;
remnants of their fiery furnaces
pulse through our veins.
We are of the stars,
the dust of the explosions
cast across space.
We are of the earth:
we breathe and live in the breath
of ancient plants and beasts.
Their cells nourish the soil;
we build our communities
on their harvest of gifts.
Our fingers trace the curves
carved in clay and stone
by forebears unknown to us.
We are a part
of the great circle of humanity
gathered around the fire, the
hearth, the altar.

Followed by the words from Denise Levertov. I apologize to the participants and gallery visitors for this error of origination, as well as self-praising my own knowing that something just wasn’t right about the original poem found on the internet. Onward now to the original pieces in our fantastic exhibit this year! No matter what, the power of creativity is amazing!