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 email@example.com. Enjoy!
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.
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):
-slashed, stacked, stored
curbside cardboard collage-
artsy artisan gallery show
preview on trash day
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.
— 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)
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
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
we moved into daylight
toward the sun.
in the tropics.