Monday, April 18, 2016

ARTSPEAK! 2016: Poem #18 "Gardening Basics" & Our Progressive Poem!

Hello, and welcome to day 18 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!

But first, it's Progressive Poem time! I gotta say: I am really loving our poem this year! I appreciate how everyone has taken up the rhyme scheme challenge started by Laura and Joy... and how many have used previous lines and stanza structure to inform their own lines. I've also loved reading about efforts to make one's line a good jumping off spot for the next person. Such a kind, compassionate community of writers... I love it! We're really in a groove this year!

ETA: As for my line, we had a bit of a shake up! I started with "My heart speeds as I climb astride," as I thought our speaker was surely ready for some action after all this dreaming of action! But then Kim let me know somehow Violet's line got lost when Kim wrote her line... so we had to get Violet back in there, which shifted things! But not to worry: words are moveable, changeable, and that's a big part of the fun! No wrong answers here, and we're all accounted for. What will our speaker do now? I leave it for the next poet(s) to unravel. It's all yours, Charles!

A squall of hawk wings stirs the sky.
A hummingbird holds and then hies.
If I could fly, I'd choose to be
Sailing through a forest of poet-trees.

A cast of crabs engraves the sand
Delighting a child's outstretched hand.
If I could breathe under the sea,
I'd dive, I'd dip, I'd dance with glee.

A clump of crocuses crave the sun.
Kites soar while joyful dogs run.
I sing to spring, to budding green,
to all of life -seen and unseen.

Wee whispers drift from cloud to ear
and finally reach one divining seer
who looks up from her perch and beams --
West Wind is dreaming May, it seems.

Golden wings open and gleam
as I greet the prancing team.

And now for that other poetry project in my life this month. :) This year's ARTSPEAK! 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:

"Mary in the Garden" after Reading in the Garden by Pompeo Mariani
"This Wheelbarrow" after A Woman Emptying a Wheelbarrow by Camille Pissarro
"A Dream of Sheep" after Warm Afternoon by Winslow Homer
"Harvest" after The Last Days of Harvest by Winslow Homer
"Anticipation (in the Garden) after George Moore in the Artist's Garden by Edouard Manet
"Gathering Fruit" after Gathering Fruit by Mary Cassatt
"Bread's Lament" after Boy with Basket of Fruit by an unknown American artist
"After the Fire" after Ruined Farm by Hubert Robert
"Cow at the Gate" after Landscape with Open Gate by Pieter Molijin
"I Am the Plate" after Still Life with Milk Jug and Fruit by Paul Cezanne
"Courtship (According to the Cat)" by Winslow Homer
"Courage" after Planting Corn by Stanley Mazur
"Orchard Barber Shop" after Gardener Pruning a Tree by Jacques Callot
"Gardener's Companion" after The Watering Can by Georges Seurat

I selected today's piece by Roger de La Fresnaye for it's wild depiction of all the garden tools. I approached the subject several ways before I decided that maybe the wildness of the garden was the thing I wanted to write about. We like to think we have so much to do with the success of a garden, and yes, our efforts can make a difference, but the biggest thing I've learned as a gardener is that you can't stop growth. You can do everything right, and given rain and sun, the garden will GROW, often out of control. The earth explodes, in spite of our best efforts. And isn't that the miracle?

Gardening Basics

Even without
and scythe

the garden
gets dressed
in a fuzzy
green vest

that soon

its buttons.


  1. My heart speeds as I read more and more poetry this month. What a gold mine of inspiration and poetry love!

  2. Hi dear Irene!

    "fuzzy green vest" is a giggle of a way to think of these untamed sprouts that greet us every day.

    And what will our Progressive Poem 2016 narrator be astride? You've continued the intrigue...

    I wish you more fun sprouting days of book launch month :)

  3. Irene, "Gardening Basics" is an expansive type of poem that lets my mind wander as the garden pops with blooms. Green vest and pops its buttons are great visuals for me. Thanks for the morning poetry feast-ArtSpeak! 2016 and the Progressive Poem line that leads me to further wonder. I'm prancing on. Take it away Charles.

  4. Oh my, it's a group of beings that now enter the poem. Lovely that "prancing team". And, after all the snow this past weekend, I know that the "fuzzy green vest" will finally appear. Thanks, Irene.

  5. Great "save" on the missing line! It works perfectly still.

  6. That "fuzzy green vest" is my favorite image, too! The bushes and shrubs all put on that haze of green this weekend. And I can't wait to see where Charles takes the progressive poem tomorrow!

  7. You continue to amaze me with the each poem giving us a visual that ignites the imagination.

  8. Fuzzy green vest! Stop!

    And here's to flexibility and knowing how very much words love to shuffle about...especially with friends around. No surprise to find your joyous prancing team. xx

  9. A prancing team! Lovely. Thanks for working out this bit. :0)

  10. Just getting caught up, and I see we have a team of prancers...hmm, who could they be??

  11. Excellent! Love your ekphrastic. Popping buttons is exactly right. And like you, I'm in absolute awe at everyone's skill, craft and creativity with the Progressive poem. And I've just taken a moment to read the poem from the bottom up. We may have a gorgeous reverso in the works! What do you think?

  12. Catching up on "our" poem--love the prancing team (because really, isn't that what we are?)

    And a fuzzy green vest that pops its buttons? How perfect is that!

  13. I'm fuzzy and green. Baby chicks everywhere and I'm hoping my green thumbs kicks in soon with the garden

  14. Love the poem so far--and hooray for action! Also, I finally read FRESH DELICIOUS today, and it's so precisely perfect. I love it!

  15. I'm so happy that I got to meet you in person! Very fun and special!!

    I'm loving this year's poem too! And I'm catching up today.
    "prancing team" leaves a lot to imagine!

    And your ARTSPEAK poem!!! Wow I love the idea of a fuzzy green vest popping it's buttons! Beautiful!


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