Agate Fossil Beds National Monument Artist Residency

Miriam Sagan is recently returned from an artist residency at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Nebraska! We’ve done a small suminagashi/book arts/poetry project to commemorate her time there, using poetry and sumi she created at the residency. To see all of the suminagashi, visit https://sumi-a-day.tumblr.com/. This book will be on display at the offices of the National Park, and there will also be an accompanying broadside.

Agate Fossil Bed Morning

The gold of dawn lights up the prairie,
a path winds away,
in the earth lie bones of what is gone—
try re-assembling this fossil.

A path winds away,
crosses a bridge twisted with wild cucumber,
try re-assembling this fossil
in the grass called needle and thread.

Across a bridge twisted with wild cucumber
to prick your finger is to forget
in the grass called needle and thred.
Is this zigzag the taproot of a gigantic tree?

To prick your finger is to forget.
The paleontologist reconstructs the past.
The zigzag taproot of a gigantic tree
is actually the petrified burrow of a prehistoric beaver.

The paleontologist reconstructs the past.
The dream is to remember
the petrified burrow of a prehistoric beaver,
but silk won’t return to milkweed pod again.

The dream is to remember
what walked this land before us,
silk won’t return to milkweed pod again
reading the vestige record of the past.

What walked this land before us
on a clear autumn day?
Reading the vestige record of the past,
clouds scudding in the wind.

On a clear autumn day
bones of what is gone lie in the earth,
clouds scudding in the wind,
the gold of dawn lights up the prairie.

-Miriam Sagan

3 thoughts on “Agate Fossil Beds National Monument Artist Residency

  1. Miriam Sagan says:

    Reblogged this on Miriam’s Well: Poetry, Land Art, and Beyond and commented:
    Very excited as this project heads towards completion. I couldn’t have done it without Isabel Winson-Sagan, although this is the first time I’ve produced my own suminagashi for a finished piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Judy says:

    Wow! This is a stunning creative tribute to your residency. I love the suminagashi and how you blend it with your poetry. The combination of creative image with creative words is more than additive. Thank you for sharing this endeavor.

    Liked by 1 person

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