Friday, March 3, 2023

If You Put Light in a Box (poem)

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Tanita at {fiction, instead of lies} for Roundup.

Y'all, it's MARCH! Yay! This week I was a celebrity in my own county, when Charles and I made the front page of our weekly paper, The Blount Countian. 

Friends, Paul and I love where we live! But having lived here for a mere five years, we are outsiders, and always will be. (Some can trace their lineage in this county for more than 6 generations!) It feels like an important moment for my community to embrace me in this way... so many thanks to Jim Kilgore for writing the article.

Also, I got to get a little crafty with my Master Gardener friends. We were asked to put in a display in the foyer at Oneonta Public Library. We went with a "ready to grow" theme. So much fun!

In online news, you're invited to read my post over at Smack Dab in the Middle about 7 Quotes from THE WAR OF ART that will inspire your warrior-writer...and a question from that book that can be a guiding light. 
Today's ArtSpeak: Light poem is one that came in a rush. There's a bit of "nobody puts Baby in a corner" in it. Also, these days, I've been trying not to think so much and just be in my life as it unfolds. 

Wise words I return to often are these: "You're either in your head, or you're in your life." And I want to be in my life!

What if our only purpose really is to be present? To shine? 

Like light.

If You Put Light in a Box

it doesn't beg
or complain

instead creeps
so quietly
through cracks

through seams

are swallowed,
fear dissolves

is tomorrow
is today

as light carves a path
as light unfolds

- Irene Latham

Thanks so much for reading. 💜


  1. Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition, Irene! I like the idea of life as light, unfolding slowly, finding the best places to illuminate.

  2. Lovely poem, Irene. Somehow that "unfolds" at the end echoes in my head with the golds of Mondrian's art.

  3. Thanks for this wisdom. Having grandchildren has changed my "being present" drastically. I constantly struggle with balancing what I want or need to be doing with being present with my family. Congratulations on "being famous"! This is what we say in our family when you make it into the local paper.

  4. Exciting to see that wonderful article! Happy to know you feel embraced by the local community. Love the poem and pondering how light will not be contained. Nice gardening display too. Thanks for all the joy this week. :)

  5. Yaaay! What an honor! I felt that "outsiders" vibe when I lived in the UK - my five years were a drop in the proverbial water tower - so I know this must feel great. Light is such a great topic - and I love the unexpectedness of boxing it, and describing all the ways in which it remains unstoppable. Love that as a life lesson.

  6. This is the first post I opened after getting home from work and it's so sunshiney and happy that I'm smiling. Thank you for the light and the good news and the hug of welcome from your community to you. It's all good. I'm so glad you are decidedly IN it.

  7. What a beautiful poem Irene. Your light shines through it! And congratulations on your front page news - as someone who has moved a lot, I hear you about the 'never a local' thing.

  8. Thanks for this shining light filled poem Irene, and many congrats on your front page publication–Hooray!

  9. So much hope in this poem! Go, Light! Shine on!!

    Congrats to you and Charles!! (Looking at the masthead of your county newspaper, I am reminded of Naomi Shihab Nye's "Famous.")

  10. How wonderful to receive such lovely recognition from your new(ish) community! The outsider slips just a little further inside the boundaries, and deservedly so. :) And, oh, I'm all too often in my head, so I hear you. Your poem about light reminds me of water — they each have a life of their own.

  11. I just checked out your warrior quotes and they are true, true, true! The one that is the biggest challenge for me is doing the most important first. Had to laugh at the Nobody puts Baby in a corner reference. xo

  12. Oh, Irene, I love the peak inside your life with the headline and the library display. Precious! And congratulations. I understand how that is about moving to a new place, and never REALLY being a part of the community. It's nice you have taken more steps into feeling a part of your new county.

    I love this: "What if our only purpose really is to be present? To shine? Like Light" Yes, let's be present. Thank you for your sweet poem--"as light carves a path" Yes!

  13. I'm SO, SO happy about this new award for your book, Irene! (And today's poem is so inspiring!)

  14. I love "worries are swallowed." Also, how cool to make the front page of the newspaper! So glad they are recognizing the gems in their own community.

  15. Congratulations on your award, and on your recognition in your local community, Irene. That is so lovely and affirming! And you are so deserving.

  16. Congratulations, Irene. Your joy is light "irrepressible/streaming
    through seams"


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