2016 Found Object Poem Project: Day 26

I am pleased to host Day 26 in Laura Shovan’s Found Object Poem Project. Laura’s introductory post about the project is here. Many thanks to Laura for leading us through another February filled with daily prompts. While I haven’t written any poems (more time this month is the object I really needed to find), I’ve enjoyed keeping up with all the great poems.

I like the idea of found objects as poetry prompts. Part of the appeal is because I am famous (at least in my household) for bringing home found objects, like the deer skull that featured on Day 19. Or, a rusted piece of iron fence ornamentation as a keepsake from my family’s homestead in Smith County, Kansas, which my great-great grandmother, Mary, took out after she divorced her husband, John, in 1874 (I trace their lives and relationship in my chapbook Shards of Blue). Not all found objects come home, but sometimes they do become poetry prompts. A tire swing became the basis for a poem about suburban gentrification. Painted screens, Formstone, and a ceramic cat were the objects prompting a poem about four geographers (one of whom was me) finding the quintessential Baltimore rowhouse.

Today’s found object comes to us from Jessica Bigi. I’m looking forward to the many layers of ideas you all find in this object. Please post your poems in comments or e-mail them to me at mikeratcliffe@comcast.net. Enjoy!

IMG_3911

Sunrise in Maryland was at 6:45 this morning, and poets were already up and working.

Heidi Mordhorst (at myjuicylittleuniverse.blogspot.com) is the first one up this morning, setting us on what probably will be a heliocentric path today.

Sister Sun Sets You Straight

You thought the all-powerful
was a god? A hot-blazing,
fire-roaring, staff-wielding god?
Helios Apollo Huitzilopochtli
Surya Toniatuh Ra–
ha! I am goddess.

I do not blaze so much as simmer;
I do not roar so much as sing
(some say singe);
I do not wield a mighty staff;
I waft my hair of flame.
I coax the sweetness out with legendary heat:
from soil and branch, maple
from stem and leaf, strawberry
from pod and bean, chocolate
(I do not claim the cookie dough.)

I forgive your errors–
my charms are hard to judge from lowly earth.
So every now and then I descend, all dulcet warmth
and eyelashes, to wink at humankind
from unexpected spots.
Don’t forget the recycling.

— Heidi Mordhorst

________________________

Jessica Bigi (contributor of today’s found object) writes that the object brought to mind painted fans that one might take to church on a hot summer day.

Sunday Service

Iridescent golds
Sun engraving
On turquoise skies
Folding of papers
Painting cool winds
Unfolding paper fans
As the choir sings
One last song

— Jessica Bigi

__________________________

Laura Shovan offers us a found poem in response to the found object. She writes: “Today’s found object reminded me of a visit to NASA Godard on Family Day a few years ago. What I remember best is speaking with a heliophysicist, whose work is to study the sun. Wow — that’s my job in another life. I went to NASA’s Heliophysics page. What was written there was so beautiful, I added some line breaks to create this found poem.”

This Island Earth
By Laura Shovan
Found at NASA Science Heliophysics: http://science.nasa.gov/heliophysics/

We live in the extended atmosphere
of an active star. Sunlight enables
and sustains us, but streams
of high energy particles and radiation
can harm life, alter its evolution.
Under the protective shield
of its magnetic field and atmosphere,
Earth is an island in the Universe
where life has developed, flourished,
the fate of life on Earth intimately
connected to the Sun’s variations.

_____________________________

It’s late morning now and the sun is rising higher. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m at work today, updating this page between meetings and various census geography tasks. The day is busier than I expected. And, in the midst of all this work and all these sun-related poems, Charles Waters reminds us of the value of taking a break to rest in the shade.

SPOT OF SHADE

Whenever I find a spot of shade,
I think the sun is, saying,
“Take a load off, sit tight
Everything will be alright.”

— Charles Waters

_____________________________

While we’re resting in the shade of Charles’ poem, let’s consider other layers and aspects of the found object. Carol Varsalona offers the following (which you can also find on her site at http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2016/02/poetry-potpourri.html):

Cardboard Art

recycled refuse
-slashed, stacked, stored
curbside cardboard collage-
artsy artisan gallery show
preview on trash day

©CVarsalona, 2016

_______________________________

Yay! It’s afternoon. The day is flying by, and poems keep arriving. Linda Baie’s poem takes us back to when all those flattened boxes in the photo were filled with all sorts of wonderful stuff to be found and enjoyed.

The Smile In The Pile

I’m smiling because
the box piles above me
mean loads of surprises (and maybe applause).

They whooped and they grinned
when the boxes arrived,
no matter the cargo within.

Some contents conceived
meant dreams became real
astonishing those who received.

Certain orders proclaimed
to be needed, and then,
back online, click, they ordered again.

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

_______________________________

I’ve been saving Diane Mayr’s poem, which she sent in this morning. I wanted to see how the day unfolded. We’ve had sun in the morning, followed by shade. Then, layers of cardboard art and piles that bring smiles. I took a break from work, stepped out of my windowless office, and saw that it’s a nice sunny day. Now’s the time for Diane’s poem.

Late Late Afternoon

Rain has ended.
Dissipating clouds stretch thin and thinner.
Layer over layer slowly fading until suddenly lit
from below in desperation by a sun that didn’t take kindly
to the theft of its time to shine.

— Diane Mayr
________________________________

Sifting through the piles of e-mail that have come in today, I realized I failed to add Donna Smith’s poem, which she sent in this morning. Donna writes: “The sun and the blue shape above it, along with the white box as cloud…all became a picture of the sky to me…and of course because this is a stack of cardboard recycling, and day and night are a cycle…well, that’s where this came from (including the “moon” in the base poem!)” We’re closer to sunset now, so perhaps it was all for the best.

Cycles (to the Cow Jumped Over the Moon)

Hey, tacky-tacky
This paper is stacky.
The jet flew over the sun.
Though sunset not pink
The orb gave me a wink,
“I’ll return when recycling’s done.”

©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved

__________________________________
A couple more poems have arrived. Mary Lee Hahn drops in with haiku:

the world
stacked on my shoulders
yet I shine

©Mary Lee Hahn

 

MBH Maine writes: “Missing the sun’s warmth after a week-long vacation in Puerto Rico, my eyes lingered longingly on the sun in this photo. I hope my Day 26 response is not too late!” No, never too late, especially when it’s a poem to get us dreaming about warmer days and warmer climes.

Arriving in Puerto Rico
We tipped our faces to the sun
heads like bobbing buds
on slender neck stalks.
Warmth seeped into our bones,
flushing our cheeks
petal-pink.

Each morning
we moved into daylight
instinctively leaning
toward the sun.
Phototropic
in the tropics.

 

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24 thoughts on “2016 Found Object Poem Project: Day 26

  1. Here’s my Day 26 poem. Nice to meet you, Michael!

    Sister Sun Sets You Straight

    You thought the all-powerful
    was a god? A hot-blazing,
    fire-roaring, staff-wielding god?
    Helios Apollo Huitzilopochtli
    Surya Toniatuh Ra–
    ha! I am goddess.

    I do not blaze so much as simmer;
    I do not roar so much as sing
    (some say singe);
    I do not wield a mighty staff;
    I waft my hair of flame.
    I coax the sweetness out with legendary heat:
    from soil and branch, maple
    from stem and leaf, strawberry
    from pod and bean, chocolate
    (I do not claim the cookie dough.)

    I forgive your errors–
    my charms are hard to judge from lowly earth.
    So every now and then I descend, all dulcet warmth
    and eyelashes, to wink at humankind
    from unexpected spots.
    Don’t forget the recycling.

  2. Good morning, Mike. Thank you so much for hosting. I’m so glad you linked to some of your found object poems from SHARDS OF BLUE in this post!

    Today’s found object reminded me of a visit to NASA Godard on Family Day a few years ago. What I remember best is speaking with a heliophysicist, whose work is to study the sun. Wow — that’s my job in another life. I went to NASA’s Heliophysics page. What was written there was so beautiful, I added some line breaks to create this found poem.

    This Island Earth
    By Laura Shovan
    Found at NASA Science Heliophysics: http://science.nasa.gov/heliophysics/

    We live in the extended atmosphere
    of an active star. Sunlight enables
    and sustains us, but streams
    of high energy particles and radiation
    can harm life, alter its evolution.
    Under the protective shield
    of its magnetic field and atmosphere,
    Earth is an island in the Universe
    where life has developed, flourished,
    the fate of life on Earth intimately
    connected to the Sun’s variations.

  3. Mike, I am also glad to meet you. I have been reading some of your poetry and want to continuing reading those from Shards of blue that are filled with historical context. My offering for Day 26 is at http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2016/02/poetry-potpourri.html (I also am backtracking and have two more poems for Day 2 and 3 of Laura’s project. Here is the short version of my poem called Cardboard Art:

    recycled refuse
    -slashed, stacked, stored
    curbside cardboard collage-
    artsy artisan gallery show
    preview on trash day
    ©CVarsalona, 2016

    Thank you for hosting.

    1. Carol,

      Thanks. I’m glad you’ve been enjoying my poetry. If you want to read more about Shards of Blue, the family history behind, and other poetic interests and influences, Debbie Kevin, on-line editor for the Little Patuxent Review, interviewed me last year. The interview is on the Little Patuxent Review’s site at http://littlepatuxentreview.org/2015/06/19/voices-of-his-past-an-interview-with-michael-ratcliffe/. There’s also a follow-up post with a couple poems from the book.

      Mike

    1. Carol– You’re welcome. I’m trying to keep on top of these and post as soon as possible so we can all enjoy the work as much as possible. It’s fun seeing how things unfold over the course of the day.

  4. Hi Michael, I enjoyed hearing and reading about your own ‘found objects’. Thanks for hosting for Laura’s birthday challenge. Here is my poem for this prompt, Day 26:

    The Smile In The Pile

    I’m smiling because
    the box piles above me
    mean loads of surprises (and maybe applause).
    .
    They whooped and they grinned
    when the boxes arrived,
    no matter the cargo within.

    Some contents conceived
    meant dreams became real
    astonishing those who received.

    Certain orders proclaimed
    to be needed, and then,

    back online, click, they ordered again.
    Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

  5. Thank you for being a wonderful host today. It is so interesting to see the many poems for one pic today. Everyone’s poems are wonderful.

  6. Missing the sun’s warmth after a week-long vacation in Puerto Rico, my eyes lingered longingly on the sun in this photo. I hope my Day 26 response is not too late!

    Arriving in Puerto Rico
    We tipped our faces to the sun
    heads like bobbing buds
    on slender neck stalks.
    Warmth seeped into our bones,
    flushing our cheeks
    petal-pink.

    Each morning
    we moved into daylight
    instinctively leaning
    toward the sun.
    Phototropic
    in the tropics.

    1. No, your Day 26 response is not too late. And, I’m sorry about taking so long to actually post it. Today was a day for fun and sport after a day of poetry. Started with a bottling workshop at the Catoctin Creek Distillery in Purcellville, VA, where friends of mine and I (and a bunch of other people) helped bottle 40 cases of rye whiskey. Then, a couple hours bicycling in the Virginia countryside. Home, dinner, movie, and now finally, back to poetry… and thinking about basking in the warm Caribbean sun. Thanks!

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