Witchery In My Mind


By Connie Christiana
with Illustrations by Edward Christiana

2015

Constance “Connie” Steber Christiana (1923 - 2008) fits the old archetype of the “secret” poet. During her lifetime, she never professed to be a writer. Born in Illion, NY, she married New York painter Edward Christiana, was a mother of four, grandmother of seven, sister, and aunt, and resided in the hamlet of Holland Patent, NY. Always active, she had a wide circle of friends, and was a congregant of the Unitarian Church in Barneveld, as well as a member of its Sophia Mappa Guild. She strongly identified with feminism.

Much of this background is the raw material from which Connie composed, between 1989 and 1997, a body of work remarkable for its distinctive imagery as well as its sensitivity. Presented here for the first time is a wide selection of Connie Christiana’s work, accompanied by her husband’s ink and pencil sketches.





She is somewhere in the mountains now.
If you see her,
Ask her:
Have you found truth and ease?
Have you found that something 
To fill the empty spaces?
Fluid, like the flesh of a cat;
Like a vagabond river taking charge.
(excerpt from “Peacock’s Cry”)








On the North Side of Everything

The old men in shirtsleeves
Are out on the lawn
Scratching, scratching with rakes.

They live as they have lived —
Apologetic lovers,
Hoping, almost, to win.

They are not preparing for a burial.
They are the pioneers, the sod busters,
The first ones out with the choppers
To attack the black snow
Where it crouches.

When the old Ohio and Western passes,
They stop working, look up,
Feeling the vibrations of the train’s passage
In the softening earth under their feet.

Light from the tops of trees
Burns behind them
As they return to the crusted snow,
Helpless in a brimming tide of sensuous cold.





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