Poem-A-Day: Paula Billups

It’s April again, which means it’s National Poetry Month again here in the U.S., which also means it’s time once more for the Poem-A-Day series on my blog.

(And there was much rejoicing.)

This year I’ll be featuring another wide variety of poets and types of poetry, and sometimes I’ll have more than one poem by a particular person. Sort of a mini-series, I suppose. Our first one of these is from my dear friend Paula Billups, who is a fine artist in every sense of the word. Her gorgeous paintings hang in several rooms of our house, but aside from painting, she also writes.

Here is one of her poems, from this past Christmas, a nonetheless-wonderful holiday at the end of a hellish year, the likes of which I hope we don’t see again anytime soon.


Christmas Letter for 2016, A Hard Year
(Written for everyone I love who loves me)

For all the ways of hearts can bloom
For all the cruel ways they break
For the eternal knowledge that sits in every
cell in every being that
whispers always in the blood,
“Nothing matters more than love.”
For every tyrant that ever fell
All of them
Every single one
for breaking faith with that immutable law.
For the knowledge that love and compassion
belong to all of us
in exchange for this burden:
we will possess the universe
til our final light winks out.

For all the ways this burden cracks the heart
for all the tiny cathedrals we build around it
to keep it singing or whispering at least . . .
On a night that I, like the half-moon
don equal mantles to sorrow, to rejoice
I accept — only just — that love is all that matters
that love gives sorrow sometimes,
and that is not an evil thing:
only a bird-call barb that sings,
“Only by being made of love like strong small keeps
can we bear to possess the world.”


fossils collected on our walk around the ranch in Wimberley — photo credit Scott Billups

Austin, Texas
Christmas Day, 2016


Paula Billups is a visual artist whose work takes in the media of painting, drawing, collage, artist’s books, installation, and collaboration. She bases her studio practice in Boston and Berlin and exhibits internationally, most recently in Cuba, Toronto, Berlin, and Luxembourg. Core themes of her work include interior shamanic processes, hidden and lost knowledge, and contradiction of the human desire for omniscience. Poetry has been a running thread of her creative life since the age of ten. She writes a blog at paulabillupsart.blogspot.com and files her poetry at paulabillups.tumblr.com. You can learn more about her work at www.paulabillups.com.

20 thoughts on “Poem-A-Day: Paula Billups

      1. Tell you what – give me a deadline. If I come up with something new I’ll send it to you and you can decide. If I miss the deadline, feel free to pick something from the blog.

        [Please remind me of your email address]

        Liked by 1 person

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