It's been awhile since I've blogged, but I'll explain more about why in a couple of days. :)

For now, I just wanted to share a poem for St. Patrick's Day from one of the most wonderful persons I've had the pleasure to collaborate with, Christine Valtners Paintner.

It was many years ago, now, that Christine and I began our journey together of working on over 30 paintings of saints (St. Patrick being one of those!) and other souls that are meaningful to people all over the world. 

When we collaborate, it's like Christine has a vision, she relays it to me in words, and then I try to interpret her vision in a painting. It is a fascinating process. 

I also, often, when she asks me to paint someone, consult her poetry for painting inspiration. 

You see, besides being a collaborator in the arts, Chrinstine is an artist herself. Both a poet and a writer of prose, she has published around 20 books and has published writings and poems in a variety of journals, where she also often wins awards! I could say about one million things about Christine, as she is so very interesting and is such a force in the world, but as I want to get to the poem, I will say, after you read the poem, check out Christine's online home at Abbey of the Arts-- you'll be glad you did! You can read more of her poems, read interviews, learn about her classes, and so much more. 

I feel truly awestruck that I have had the opportunity in this life to work with such talented people like Christine. Her work in this world is a gift. 

(A quick note: the formatting below differs from the original poem. It looks correct when I'm blogging, but the published version differs, so apologies in advance.)

Holy Mountain*

I want to climb the holy mountain ascend over weight of stone and force of gravity, follow the rise of a wide and cracked earth toward eternal sky, measured steps across the sharp path, rest often to catch my heavy breath.

I want to hear the silence of stone and stars, lie back on granite’s steep rise face to silver sky’s glittering points where I can taste the galaxies on my tongue, communion of fire, then stand on the summit and look out at the laboring world.

I want to witness earth’s slow turning with early light brushing over me, a hundred hues of grey, pink, gold, speckles of Jackson Pollock light, then ribbons of mist floating like white streamers of surrender.

I want to look back down the trail as if over my past, forgive a thousand tiny and tremendous transgressions because now all that matters is how small I feel under the sky, even the sparrowhawk takes no notice of me, how enlarged I feel by knowing this smallness.

I want to be like St. Patrick, climb the holy mountain full of promise and direction and knowing, forty days of fasting aloft among clouds until my body no longer hungers and something inside is satisfied and my restless heart says here, no longer dreaming of other peaks.

—Christine Valters Paintner*This poem first appeared in The Galway Review

To view all the Dancing Monks and to explore Christine's Abbey of the Arts, visit