On Hallowed Ground

Winona's Poet Laureate Ken McCullough composed a poem for the opening of the Member Exhibit. We are honored to share his beautiful verse.

Photo courtesy of Al Mueller.


The Artist must be the canary in the mine
  the dove that returns to the ark
  with the olive leaf in its beak

The Artist must speak for those
  who have no voice
  whether they walk on two legs,
  four legs, swim, crawl or fly
  or are the stand still people—
  the trees, the grasses, the rocks

The Artist must show us the beauty
  in the smallest sparrow
  but also the terrors of the night

The Artist must dance these things
  into our lives, act them out
  sing them into our souls
  play them with instruments
  fashion them with wood, clay, glass
  fabric, stone or paint
  capture their dignity on film
  must make them useful or frivolous
  joyous or shocking
  entertaining or all of the above

The Artist must teach us to see
  the divinity in each other
  and in all things,
  in this place
  in this valley, these bluffs
  by this Father of Rivers
  on this Blue Planet—
  all of this, all of this
  on hallowed ground

         —Ken McCullough

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