Words & Pictures

Floating World

Floating World
Floating World

I wrote the poem below several weeks after David’s passing, as I sat in our living room, absorbed in one of his cloud paintings, “Floating World,” remembering how he came to create this series.  In the weeks before he died, a friend asked him how he created the images and he said they were “behind the eyes.”  Another time he said to me “the layers are rising” and I’ve incorporated those words into this reflection on his life and creativity:


Cloud paintings, 

incandescent color on the canvas

transluscent, opaque 

inexpressible forms emerging, receding

the images behind the eyes

the layers rising

form and formlesss

meeting, floating. 

Marga Ret 


The Breeze at Dawn

The Breeze at Dawn
The Breeze at Dawn

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.

Rumi/tr. Coleman Barks

This is one of David’s favorite poems.  He recited it often, and we would always have a good laugh about not going back to sleep, especially since  that meant to us that we were not just awake but hopefully had managed to cultivate some wisdom along the way.


Today like every other day, we wake up empty

and frightened.  Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading. 

Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

Rumi/tr. Coleman Barks

David always used this poem to encourage me to play my piano, to improvise in tones and modalities I loved, and to continue to write poetry and share it with others.  Throughout all the years we shared our lives with each other, with family and with friends, he never stopped painting.  During the day his work as a scientific illustrator kept him busy, but after work, the time was his to create.


Here in the “Words and Pictures” section of this site is where I’ll continue adding new content as time permits.

I’ll start with this photo of David’s last work of art, created after his brain surgery to reduce the swelling of the glioblastoma brain tumor.

Form Is Emptiness
Form Is Emptiness

This painting honors our life together and his life as an artist.  He was a member of the Santa Barbara Art Association and exhibited his work over many years at Gallery 113, a place he loved and respected very much.