Christine Valters Paintner

Christine Valters Paintner is an American poet living in Galway, Ireland and the author of twelve books of nonfiction and two collections of poems: Dreaming of Stones (2019) and The Wisdom of Wild Grace, forthcoming in fall 2020 from Paraclete Press. Her poems have appeared in several journals in North America, UK, and Ireland including Tales from the Forest, Crannog, Stinging Fly, The Blue Nib, Headstuff, The Galway Review, Boyne Berries, impspired, Bangor Journal, Tiferet, Spiritus, Presence, and Anchor. You can find more of her writing and poetry at AbbeyoftheArts.com.

Wittgenstein in Connemara

I turn north off the N59
bog on one side, Lough Fee
on the other, turn right at Lough Muck,
over the hill, along the peninsula,
to the end of the road at Rosroe Pier,
mouth of Killary Fjord, edge of the known
world, all gorse and heather and sea,
Mweelrae sleeps across the way.
 
He certainly didn’t belong there,
Austrian philosopher turned
Cambridge professor, a hermit
seeking dark quiet around himself
for thoughts to ripen, what must
the locals have made of him? His slim
figure, austere, mannered,
bird-tamer, holding out his hands
full of bread-crumbs and seed,
smiling as sparrows land
on tiny feet, letting the blackbird
teach him about patience,
perhaps seeking the God
for whom he had no words.
 
Not how the world is, is the mystical,
but that it is, he once said. At night
I stand under an ample sky
and can’t help but agree, I dream
he is there with me, I fix him tea
and say I don’t understand his writing,
he laughs gently, asks for sugar,
we sit together in the long quiet
broken only by the soft voice of flames
in the wood stove and the rain
that has started thrumming the window.

Love Letter

“I prowl the woods and streams / And linger watching things themselves”
—Han-Shan
 
Have you ever fallen in love
with a mountain, spent hours
memorizing her lines and gashes,
swooned over a scree-covered slope,
uplifted by its rise into sky
saying I am here, no apologies,
followed its trails, scooping clusters
of wildflowers along the way,
seen how it ascends from earth
like a great heron with wide wings,
like your own, most fervent prayer?

Nocturne

Sometimes I awaken at night
although still in a dream,
air around me is violet.
Here in the heart of the forest
I am elegance of swan,
fierceness of bear,
sweetness of squirrel,
I am all these things under
night’s generous embrace,
how the moon, a broken dinner plate
has the courage to soar
how my prayers for the world grow
more intense and I wonder
what of this grace will still
be left by morning?

Poetry on Four Paws

(or Arf Poetica)
 
Eyes alert, nose up, you catch the scent,
a thread that leads you across fields
you might never have crossed.
 
Simple rhythms suffice:
sleep, eat, walk, listen, smell,
present to each moment’s need.
 
Running through snow,
you, black on white,
words tumble onto the page.

4 thoughts on “Christine Valters Paintner

  1. I’m feeling very fortunate to have read these poems today and they inspired me. Sometimes the presence of nature is so close to me at night but that feeling usually is wiped out by the return of daylight so… I can relate to The Nocturne. I have two prayer poles that I’ll begin painting this weekend for the entrance to my newly constructed backyard labyrinth. The reading of your poems will most certainly play a part in the creation of my painted work. Thank You for inspiring me and I am sure many other readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Words dance , hearts leap when reading Christine Valters Paintner’s poetry and books!
    Walking with the Abbey of the Arts over many years has blessed my life. Thank you!!
    Mary Mason

    Liked by 1 person

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