Wednesday, April 6, 2016

ARTSPEAK! 2016: Poem #6 "Courage"

Hello, and welcome to day 6 of my National Poetry Month poem-a-day-project ARTSPEAK! in which I respond to images found in the online collections at the National Gallery of ArtPlease join me, if you feel so inspired! Also, please visit Carol at Beyond Literacy Link to see how our Progressive poem is progressing!

Two things about today: 1) I am at Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival in Hattiesburg, MS. My presentation is called Reading is Delicious: Fresh, Fun Food Programming for Kids. Hello, all my fellow book lovers! 2) It's our 25th wedding anniversary! How did THAT happen? I'm so, so grateful for that man, this life. Love love love.

Okay, back to ARTSPEAK! This year's theme is "Plant. Grow Eat." It was inspired by the release of my latest book FRESH DELICIOUS: Poems from the Farmers' Market. Here are the poems so far:

"Orchard Barber Shop" after Gardener Pruning a Tree by Jacques Callot
"Gardener's Companion" after The Watering Can by Georges Seurat

Today's poem is inspired by "Planting Corn" by Stanley Mazur. This poem went in an entirely different direction than I was expecting. What drew me to the painting was the row of women, and the farmer in charge. Yes, I could make this a feminist poem, but mostly I was drawn to the mathematics of planting and started out writing about the way the farmer measures the field like a seamstress. But then I read the April 5 (I write these poems a day ahead during National Poetry Month so I can post in a timely manner) reading in The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo, which, in a wonderful bit of serendipity, spoke of the courage of the seed. And then that's all I could think about! So often I am inspired by what I am reading... which is a good reminder to read wide and often. (I can always go back and write the feminist and mathematics poems later.)


The seed
in the apron
doesn't know
it will grow
into corn

yet it never
about the dark
or the dirt
or the farmer's
calloused hands –

it simply
for light.


  1. Looove this, Irene! Also, happy anniversary! :-)

  2. What an interesting painting! The poem is rich with thought for this spring season, Irene, that patient seed waiting. Love the idea of that. Happy Anniversary!

  3. Very nice. I love that waiting for light, although I don't always feel that way when I'm the one in the dark! Happy anniversary!

  4. Happy anniversary, my friend! Lucky husband, yours. xx We could learn a lot from your corn, me thinks. I hope you had fun today! xo

  5. Irene, Happy Anniversary! This painting is quite unique and I can see why you were drawn to it. Courage from darkness to light - wonderful! Would you consider letting me place this digital composition in my new gallery, Springs Seeds? I have a Hashtag to showcase the digital poetry while everyone waits for the gallery. #SpringsSeeds If you are interested just send me a tweet so I know that you are accepting my offer. By the way, I received your lovely postcard in the mail and was so thrilled. My husband brought me the mail and commented on the card.

  6. Catching up on these... Love this "courageous" poem!


Your thoughts?