Laura Cloud, Peggy Shumaker
Ephemera: A Conversation
rear projection mixed media
10 sq. ft.
In Praise, Ephemera

At dawn feeding swans, upended
by the ice shelf, black beaks
champing half-thawed weeds,

draw us to the riverbank.  Grizzled feathers,
echo of boots over rotting snow.   Far between,
few, tundra swans step out on late ice.

Glacial melt, snow melt
hustle downstream--
ice dams hold tight

jostled swathes of half-lace ice.  
Knife-edged narrow
leads open, sliced river swollen.

Muskrat and beaver gnaw
new shoots of red willow,  
open winter lodges.  Fresh water, air.

Pollen, lavish, carpets the  
quick and the dead, blessing the
revived, blessing the remade.   

Season of cold broken.  Season of ice broken.  Season of              
tattered shirtsleeves.  Bare hands
useful again after burrowing all winter.

Voles gather first shoots of new grasses,
weave fresh sheaves to put by, chew new roots, shoots, and
xylem, drunk on the season’s sugars risen

yesterday and today, this hour
zipping by, lifting off, wild swan in clear sky.

 --Peggy Shumaker
                                                                   COLLABORATIVE STATEMENT
                                                      Artist Laura Ann Cloud and Poet Peggy Shumaker

Peggy Shumaker and Laura Ann Cloud started their collaborative work by exchanging information;
Shumaker sent Cloud two books of her writing and Cloud send Shumaker images of her installations.

Laura Cloud says: “After reading her books I thought of several themes that ran throughout her writing:  the
ephemeral, fragmented memory, time-based movement, environment and place, conversations/whispers
(secrets).  The ephemeral: something of no lasting significance was an exciting idea.  How do I go about
capturing the ephemeral?”

Finding common ground:  “We continued to exchange emails.  I was struck by Peggy’s relationship to Alaska,
nature and beauty.  Her poem,
In Praise, Ephemera is about a fleeting moment in time when winter thaws, the
ice breaks, and swans migrate back.  Nature is no longer dormant.”

Cloud continues: “In Michigan, I live near water on a small lake, which gave me the opportunity to observe
nature changing over time, including nesting swans.” Nature, landscape and environment were documented
using DVD (Digital Video).  This eventually became projected images on two freestanding screens.