The poem-paintings on this page were originally conceived as word-poems; they were written as such and "finished".  Often, my poems would derive from a vivid dream, sometimes in color, or a waking vision.  And then when I would write the poem;  I was content  to "paint with words" my  visions for many years.
Later, when I had discovered I was also a visual artist, and  developed my skills, I returned to some of my earlier poems and was able to paint or create digitally the original dream or vision that powered my word-poem. "To the Child Locked Up Inside," was first a "concrete" poem, arranging the words in such a way on the white space of the page, that the structure of the print also gave significant meaning to the poem. 

Memory, the Root of a Lily
by Maryclaire Wellinger


Memory illuminates our sleep
     gliding near silence
             through salt marsh         down the long river.
Memory swims through water like a boat     
     a shark of cedar      her white beaminess
     bearing down       upon weathered bronze currents
as moist grass     clutches her white hull
                  bending back the blades
              into bands of flat broken silver
humming near silence
       as she passes under the white moon,
              whose maternal  station is kept      
       beyond the tip  of  the pine tree's black spine,
the white moon      the muskrat's lodestone on purple nights . . .   
The muskrat slides out
       from the lower chamber of his mud mound
       beneath the river at Humarock.
He paddles up for air
       peering at water surface level through sharp grass
       which pokes like spent rigging above his head.
And we are Memory's weary deck apes,
       reaching near silence
                                          under her sail.  
We feel the muskrat   floating by us,
       thumping softly like a wooden blossom
       under her bow,    keel ,       and transom.
As the muskrat springs free
       below her stern,     we too are brushed
                              by the bow of memory,
as strong as cedar-on-oak.
       For us, memory is as luscious
       as the root of  a lily
the muskrat consumed
      contentedly tonight,
                              and as nourishing.


In Dreams I Marry Moses Woodfin     1993   
               by Maryclaire Wellinger  


In Dreams I Marry Moses Woodfin
by Maryclaire Wellinger
My blue house in buried hull-in-earth
into Fiske Hill like a wooden boat,
plank-layered-on-plank,   clinker-style.
Built by the compass to follow
                                      the arc of the sun,
it nests on a cradle of cut granite stone.
Like a small sea-bird    
                   it rides the ocean of seasons
surfing off the wave-crest of Spring
                                     when tulips burst
through soil and beachstones in the garden
to blossom yellow-and-red        like starfish
then it slides down the blind trough of winter.
When I am depressed, even the known horizon line
disappears.  It catches and lifts me
                                      in a net of ceiling-beams.
Her windows          clear and curious
        take me outside
        and through her open door
                                  I go into the hill.
In dreams I marry Moses Woodfin
      a fisherman who lived here.
His daily catch of cod smells worse
      than the garlic and tobacco
                                       on his breath.
He sings the songs of whales in French,
shows me       how to make
                                 vinegar  from wine        
with his hands circling        in spirals,
until we lie down together,    laughing.
When it rains           I live above a river.
Water streams from the hill
down the surface     of bare rock ledge
underneath my house       where Moses floats
                                   on  a pallet of musky air.
I slip down between the floorboards
                                  to embrace him,
muscle upon sigh,          laughter upon bone.

"In Dreams I Marry Moses Woodfin"     1993     
 was published  in "BOOGLIT,"  a New York literary journal,
 the Kerouac Memorial Iissue,October, 1999 with distinguished contributors including poet Robert Creeley and Kerouac's biographer,  Douglas Brinkley . 


Sunset at Tim's Sail Loft
There are twelve skies.
          Air moves along the light smoothly
                                 seawater over coral,
                 French ultramarine to cerulean,
                 from navy to boot-top blue,


          the wide pink strip swims--
                 a snub-nosed fish.


                            There is one sea.

          I hear only the rhythm of my breathing
   my lungs like orchids
                 their white petals
                                         opening and closing.


                                                                         riding my back.
                                                          with a host of barnacles 
                                                                               in my wake
                                              trailing weed from the Sargasso
                                        pushing apart the water
                                     I ascend slowly
                            Like a reptile


The current beats
          against my belly,
                   a propeller's blade
                      as I force my                 SELF
                   through the undertow
                          towards the surface
          the marriage of water and air
woven like a hammock
and I am swung
                    like flotsam to collide
                                 with the sand
           where I collapse
                    muddied and blinded.
         by Maryclaire Wellinger
January 28th, 1991



               To the Child Locked Up Inside

                   noon sun
  smites the windshield     and directs off the dash
                    like a laser      light spun
  through tight smocking       on her dress
                      ringing heat        in the bell of her chest
            on her burning head       glances off butterfly barrette
         in a field of finger curls       on the beam
                       through the hot        breath of time
                                 to the child       locked up inside
                               a maroon painted Plymouth.




m-c as a child