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Archive for December, 2016

Find more celebration posts at Ruth's blog.

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

 

For the last 13 years my father has created a drawing for my parents’ annual Christmas card.  In 2013, I published a small chapbook of his drawings along with poems that I wrote.  The book, Illuminate, seems to still be available on Amazon.

Earlier this week I visited my parents and talked to my dad about this year’s card.  This summer, my husband Jeff was building a pirogue in our carport.  When he was close to finishing, I took a picture and posted it on Facebook.

jeff-with-pirogue

 

The artist in my dad saw this image.

what-dad-saw

 

He emailed me and asked for the picture.  Then he blew it up and printed only the trees from the background.  These are crepe myrtle trees that are actually on the front of our house.

The photograph became the inspiration for his abstract drawing.  My dad works with pen and ink in pointillism.  Each drawing is a miracle.  I celebrate this creative gift.

John Gibson, 2016

John Gibson, 2016

 

Haiku #31

Happy New Year’s Eve!
Even trees have a party.
Sparks of light illume.

Thanks to Mary Lee Hahn for the haiku-a-day challenge. I celebrate:

  • We lightened the world with our words.
  • We grew as a community of writers.
  • We made it.

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Poetry Friday is at Donna's site: Mainly Write

Poetry Friday is at Donna’s site: Mainly Write

In November at NCTE16, I was privileged to finally meet poet Jeannine Atkins.  I got a copy of her upcoming book in verse, Stone Mirrors.  I didn’t know what this book was about.  I just loved the cover.

stone-mirrors

 

The beauty of this book is on the inside and the outside.  Jeannine tells the story of Edmonia Lewis, a Objibwe-Haitian-American woman, who in 1862, had the rare chance to attend Oberlin.  While there, she became mixed up in a controversy over poisoning.  She was acquitted, but forced to leave the school.  Her future took her to Boston and Italy where she became a successful sculptor.

The facts, however, are not the important aspects of this story.  What I found intriguing was Jeannine’s unique way of writing story in verse.  As I read, I was drawn in  by the melody of the language as well as the fascinating story. I loved following Edmonia through her growing confidence as an artist and as a woman.  I wonder how Jeannine got into the mind of Edmonia.  How did she know the feel of the stone she carved?  “She hammers out stillness, holding a life in mid-speech or stride, like a deer between danger and trust.”

Intertwined into the story of Edmonia Lewis are lines of wisdom, carved into Jeannine’s poems like the images Edmonia carved in stone.

Broken Colors

Edmonia carves the smokey smell of drawing pencils,
like a burned-down fire, and hardening clay,
with its whiff of a pond bottom.  She goes to the art room,
where each mark on paper offers a new chance.
She has nothing left but hunger for beauty,
small as the tip of a paintbrush.

She wishes the stove were lit,
though if smoke rose she might not be alone.
She smashes ice that sheathes
a jar of water to rinse a paintbrush.
She no longer draws goddesses, gods,
or anyone in transformation.
White people think metaphor belongs to them.

She opens a cupboard with boxes
printed with names, none hers.
She reads them as if studying a map
of places no one expects her to see.
The shelves and boxes are divided
like classrooms where walls come between
art, poetry, and myth. In history class,
teachers separate the dead from the living.
All through the school, lines are drawn between
right and wrong, white and colored, rich and poor,
truth and lies, facts and dreams, courage and fear,
what belongs to one person and what doesn’t.
They forget that every time the wind blows,
the world asks everyone to bend.

from Stone Mirrors, Jeannine Atkins, January 2017

 

On a recent trip through New Orleans, we crossed the Hale Boggs Bridge. My daughter was driving, so I could take this amazing picture. As the time changes over to a new year, I contemplate what may lie ahead.

Towers reach for time Carved into parting clouds Tuning my future Margaret Simon #haikuforhealing

Towers reach for time
Carved into parting clouds
Tuning a future
Margaret Simon
#haikuforhealing

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Inspiration for today’s haiku came from my weekly email from Poets & Writers:

Poetry Prompt
“In the red room there is a sky which is painted over in red / but is not red and was, once, the sky. / This is how I live. / A red table in a red room filled with air.” Using these lines from Rachel Zucker’s “Letter [Persephone to Demeter]” as inspiration, write a poem where everything in the environment is red, as though the speaker is looking through red glass.

red-leaves

We search the dry land
for Persephone’s
majestic red shoes

–Margaret Simon

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Little blackbird fly; Find in me a soaring joy filling up the sky. Margaret Simon #haikuforhealing
Little blackbird fly;
Find in me a soaring joy
filling up the sky.
Margaret Simon
#haikuforhealing

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Before the rain on this grey winter day, I took a walk down Dover Lane where my parents live. Taking a walk in a different place makes me more alert to the #commonplacemarvels. I was also looking for writing inspiration. On this 27th day of Mary Lee Hahn’s haiku challenge, my inspiration is waning. I know as a writer and because Mary Oliver says so, we must pay attention.

I stopped to capture images to later inspire writing.  Haiku can be challenging in its constraint of 5, 7, 5 syllables, but in that constraint, I can find a nugget that says everything.

 

cracked-tree-dover-lane

I

Old, cracked, leaning in
open to new life, fresh roots
nature’s the sculptor

street-repair-art

II

Tar trails twirl around
dancing on this walking path
road repair art

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savor-moment-haiku

Inspiration for writing can come from unexpected places. My brother-in-law’s family lives in Seattle, WA. His wife sent snacks for all of us. Sahale Snacks. Today’s haiku is a found haiku from the bag of pomegranate vanilla flavored cashews. Not only do they inspire poetry, they are yummy, too.

Happy Boxing Day!

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Once we know the manger we recognize everyone as someone to love. Margaret Simon #haikuforhealing

Once we know the manger
we recognize everyone
as someone to love.
Margaret Simon
#haikuforhealing

Today’s haiku is inspired by Bishop Jake Owensby’s post, Imagining Jesus, in which he writes: “The challenge for us, now that we have been to the manger, is to live the truth we’ve found there. Everyone we meet is the person God loves. In all their breathtaking otherness and bewildering uniqueness.”

My wish for you and for this nation on this Christmas Day is to remember every day that everyone you meet is a child of God who deserves respect and dignity and love. Last night as I sang in the loft above the crowded sanctuary, I prayed that my voice would be blessed. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be always with you, my Lord and My God.” Place the gift of Christmas in your heart. Find love. Express love. Be love. Every day. To every one.

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