Friday, August 29, 2014

The Beginning of the Beginning of DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST

Hello, and happy Poetry Friday! Your host for Roundup is Jone at Check it Out. Also, I'm thrilled and honored to read lovely Jama post about DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Thank you, Jama!

We writers are often asked about beginnings: where did you get the idea? what inspired this book? where do ideas come from?

I'm sure there are gazillions of answers, and all of them exactly right. Even though in my experience it's impossible to really pinpoint a beginning... so much of the creative life exists in our subconscious, and it's developing our whole lives long. Which means I could say, DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST was inspired by my childhood love of animals or the time our family lived and traveled overseas. (The closest we got to the Serengeti was Egypt.) Maybe there were books I read or movies I saw -- I'm certain their were. But THE thing that pushed me headlong into the water hole was this photograph (and others) by Greg du Toit:

Only it wasn't just the image: it was the amazing story behind the image. I wrote about this a few weeks ago at Poetry for Children and just now saw the lovely comments many of you left. A belated THANK YOU!

I find I am often inspired by other art, whether it be written works or visual art or music or history or science or nature... no shortage of inspiration in this beautiful world, that's for sure! And I am continually inspired by the offering here on Poetry Friday.

Beginnings, essentially, are about listening. Listening to the world. Listening to your response to the world, that soft inner voice that begs you to coax it from the darkness.

So, today, I'd like to share a beautiful poem about beginnings:


The moon drops one or two feathers into the field.   
The dark wheat listens.
Be still.
There they are, the moon's young, trying
Their wings.
Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow
Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone
Wholly, into the air.
I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe
Or move.
I listen.
The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,
And I lean toward mine.


Don't you love that?? I like thinking of ideas as "the moon's young, trying/ Their wings." Wishing all of you wonderful beginnings today! xo


  1. Your book and ideas are inspiring me to look further, Irene. The poem's image is indeed beautiful, that lifting up of the wings... Congratulations again for your beautiful book!

  2. So, so beautiful. Such a lovely sense of stillness and peace - of being in the moment.

    1. That's what I love, too -- the now and the stillness. What a treasure in this busy world! Thank you for stopping by. xo

  3. Such a perfect beginning for the launch of your wonderful book. I love your description of the creative life. Many congratulations, Irene!

  4. Magical poem, Irene. Love learning more about your inspirations for DWW!

    1. Jama! I am still just ga-ga for your post. Love all those staged pics with book and bears and rhinos... what a treasure. Thank you again and again! xo

  5. Lovely metaphors. Looks like a winning book!

    1. Mr. Florian is in the house!! Woohoo! Thank you so much for stopping by!

  6. Such a lovely post, Irene! I love your words: "Listening to the world. Listening to your response to the world, that soft inner voice that begs you to coax it from the darkness." A good reminder to be vigilant in our listening. And James Wright's poem is fantastic. Thanks for sharing your beginnings with us. = )

    1. Thank you, Bridget, for being a fellow listener! xo

  7. Wow that poem opens all kinds of doors, doesn't it?

    And thanks for sharing part of your process, Irene. The book looks wonderful. The more I see of if the more I want one of my own, not just copies to give away as gifts. All the best as you enjoy the flurry of launch activities.

  8. What a beautiful image, Irene, of beginnings. Such restraint and delicacy. I love it. :)

  9. Congratulations for the upcoming book! :)

  10. I would MUCH rather stand still by an elder tree than in a waterhole contracting diseases and parasites! Wow. What a passion du Toit has!!

    Love the poem...and your book!! Jama's post was lots of fun!

  11. One of the things I like most about you, Irene, is that you're so much more than a writer or an artist, you truly are a teacher as well... you can be my guru anyday. :) "Beginning" was the perfect complement to this post. I love its zen, ethereal quality.

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