I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, Eyes..
I wonder if it weighs like Mine
Or has an Easier size

I wonder if They bore it long
Or did it just begin
I could not tell the Date of Mine
It feels so old a pain

I wonder if it hurts to live
And if They have to try
And whether..could They choose between
It would not die

I note that Some, gone patient long,
At length, renew their smile..
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil

I wonder if when Years have piled
Some Thousands on the Harm
That hurt them early..such a lapse
Could give them any Balm

Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve
Enlightened to a larger Pain
In Contrast with the Love

The Grieved are many…I am told.
There is the various Cause..
Death is but one..and comes but once
And only nails the eyes

There’s Grief of Want..and grief of Cold..
A sort they call “Despair”
There’s Banishment from native Eyes
In Sight of Native Air

And though I may not guess the kind.
Correctly..yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary

To note the fashions…of the Cross,
And how they’re mostly worn…
Still fascinated to presume
That Some, are like My Own
.Emily Dickinson

12 x14 is a bit of an anomaly for me, and is the beginning of a new journey….painted in watercolour on Arches Rough Paper it is also part of the Abstract Collection and the Tools Series……the title refers to numbers and shapes and lengths, a carpenter, tools, math, metaphor, humanity, stories…..
There are so many layers to the painting…as part of the tool series, it is a picture of nails, but once you get past that, it turns into something else…the pain of piercing grief, the ties to Christianity, death and eyes nailed shut, the number of triangles which seem to go on to infinity, three points, the measurement of time, the measurement of the nails themselves…the structure that they make which is somewhat like a house…the sharp points etc..etc..and the background which though it seems like a landscape, is also reminiscent of the nails… the poem says so much too…. I hope it helps to get a deeper understanding of the painting



abstract, janis zroback, nails, watercolor, religion, belief, bible, tools, grief, grey

I paint in many different styles and feature a myriad of subject matter, which I show as individual collections….
I am inspired by the world interpreting it in brilliant colours, often influenced by the writings of famous authors and poets..
© All rights reserved. All images contained on these pages are © copyright protected by Janis Zroback and any use of these images in any form without her written permission will be considered an infringement of these copyrights.

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  • © Janis Zroback
    © Janis Zrobackover 5 years ago

  • Tama Blough
    Tama Bloughover 5 years ago

    Somehow gigantic nails and Emily go well together!

  • That’s what I thought…she has the pulse of the earth under her fingertips, and very often gets it right…thanks so much Tama….

    – © Janis Zroback

  • I found the line “death comes but once and only nails the eyes” very significant…it gave me something to think about…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Scott Bricker
    Scott Brickerover 5 years ago

    wow, really fine, Janus….superb.

  • I’m so pleased you like it Scott…there are many layers to the interpretation of this piece and I’m thrilled that you stopped by to give me your feed back…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • danita clark
    danita clarkover 5 years ago

    Words and art combine … a super peice!

  • Thank you so much Danita…there’s a lot to think about here, and I’m so pleased that you like it…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Carol Berliner
    Carol Berlinerover 5 years ago

    woooooooooow Janis awesome work! Iooooooove it instant fav!

  • How nice to see you Carol…I’m so glad you like the new work….

    – © Janis Zroback

  • artist4peace
    artist4peaceover 5 years ago


  • Thank you so much…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Leslie Gustafson
    Leslie Gustafsonover 5 years ago

    This is so interesting and well done!!

  • Thank you so much Leslie…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Leslie Gustafson
    Leslie Gustafsonover 5 years ago

    Oh wow, I have never read that poem – moving!, and with you art – inspiring!!

  • They are tied together….I’m glad you read it…thank you so much…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Jim Phillips
    Jim Phillipsover 5 years ago

    What an amazingly creative work Janis. I too am an ED fan. Enjoyed both painting and the poetry.

  • Thank you Jim…I am on a different journey now, so the work will reflect that…lots of strong shapes tied in with significance to humanity…not everything, but most will be….interestingly enough the work was done first, painted from a vision I had, then the right verse appeared…thank you so much Jim…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • © Janis Zroback
    © Janis Zrobackover 5 years ago

    The Grieved are many…I am told.
    There is the various Cause..
    Death is but one..and comes but once
    And only nails the eyes

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