When did shawls start

Wrapping my shoulders

My body my spirit

With comfort not of my own


Not as constricting

Nor as final as the wraps of

Hatshepsut or Nefertiti

Yet, lightly constraining

Kindly gifts

From my nearest and dearest,


wearing age as its label.

I would welcome windblown silk

Of  scarf or hair flying

An Amelia in an open cockpit

A Marilyn in a convertible.

But my shoulders want to

Shrug away

The late-life

Swaddle of wool

Kindly provided by

Friends and kin.

Don’t they know

How windblown

I still want to be,

Speeding down the runway

Into take-off.

I’ve practiced once or twice

In convertibles

(My scarves

Not as long as


Or hugging a motorcyclist

From behind

Or in open cockpit biplanes

And gliders

With no neurons,

No electric charge,

Spirit flies on its own

Or not.

How will it be

To ride the wind

With no body

No machine

No pilot

But myself?

The model in these drawings is my friend Leslie Limmer.


About inkpaintwords

A feminist writer and artist with a penchant for all things French, living in Washington DC. My love of language led me, indirectly, to my pleasure in gardening, drawing and watercolor. It began with a book, a collection of New Yorker garden columns by Katherine White, wife of its founding editor E.B.White. Her enthusiastic appraisal of the literary merit of various garden catalogs led me to collect and keep her favorites as well as to hoard with them some more recently-emerged seed, bulb and seed catalogs. The beautiful catalogs inspired me to little by little turn our entire front lawn (our home had a wooded ravine close behind) into a garden. That grew into a lovely site with two simple arches, a gliding bench on a little sitting patio and modest slate paths winding through beds of shade lovers and whatever plants supposedly in need of full sun that I could manage to coax into colorful healthy bloom. A curiosity about color and color theory emerged as I became keenly interested in impressionist painters; that interest merged in some way with my urge to garden. I acquired more than one book about Monet’s garden and gardens of other impressionist painters, both French and American. One day I picked up a magazine for painters, and found inside an article about a painter I’d known. Among examples of her splendid watercolor paintings was her watercolor of her garden at that time. Suddenly I could think of nothing more exciting than painting my garden. I enrolled in her watercolor class in The Art League in Alexandria, VA. The influence that the collection of Katherine White’s columns about the literary merits of certain garden catalogs has had on my life has come full now. Ink, Paint & Words combines what has become an obsession with drawing and watercolor with my passion for language. Yes, I still garden. A table full of blooming potted plants sits on my apartment patio, backed by an ivy covered fence with park trees behind. My patio, and my larger environment of Washington DC, together provides wonderful vistas for drawing and painting. For a number of years annual trips to France gave me and my companions extravagantly colorful panoramas and charming tableaux for brush and pen. And yes, now I’ve painted in Monet’s gardens several times. But that, as they say, is another story.
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