Inspiration–February

Our inspiration for February is Shamim Sisson’s painting, Fortune Telling/Library Marbles. In this provocative image, the themes that we have considered since the beginning of the new year come full circle: beauty, literature, and mystery. These are, once again, our February themes.

There are no new tasks for the first week in February. We have only to visit each window and reflect. Window two features the beauty of Janice Williams’ Sunburst and Fay Slimm’s poem by the same name.

Because of such favorable response in January, we revisit Williams’ Sandhill Cranes and Stafford’s “Watching Sandhill Cranes.”  

Window four is new light-hearted poetry, and window five is a more serious look at literature, mystery and beauty. Enjoy…

 

 

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Watching Sandhill Cranes

Spirits among us have departed—friends,
relatives, neighbors: we can’t find them.
If we search and call, the sky merely waits.
Then some day here come the cranes
planing in from cloud or mist—sharp,
lonely spears, awkwardly graceful.
They reach for the land; they stalk
the ploughed fields, not letting us near,
not quite our own, not quite the world’s.

People go by and pull over to watch. They
peer and point and wonder. It is because
these travelers, these far wanderers,
plane down and yearn in a reaching
flight. They extend our life,
piercing through space to reappear
quietly, undeniably, where we are.

(“Watching Sandhill Cranes” by William Stafford, from Even In Quiet Places.  Confluence Press, 1996.)

Next window, please…

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Week Two:

We begin week two remembering Mary Oliver’s words from last week: “Pay attention, then patch a few words together.”

But how does the creative process actually work?

Look at the words you wrote last week. Maybe they were words in a notebook with no poetic form at all. (Maybe they were brush strokes on a canvas.)

Let’s take those beginnings and turn them into poetry by following the process that visiting writer Ana Holland Krawec followed in writing her her poem “Hope Seeks Light.”

Next window, please…

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Week One:

This season we will observe and capture images and moments of wonder and quiet astonishment.

Our central inspiration for this winter season is poet Mary Oliver. In her book Thirst, she asks us to pay attention to the smallest things to regain our awe and gratefulness.

 

In “Praying” Oliver writes:

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

This poem will be our guide. We will, on the first day of each week, observe, pay attention, and write a few words. If your artistic medium is not words, consider photographs or painting or music. 

On Wednesday, we will refine our artistic beginnings from Monday. We have until Sunday to patch a few words or images together as a doorway into thanks. I will ask you to share if you feel so inclined. You may follow the models provided (poems or images) or you may strike out on your own. The goal is to create. As Oliver says, this isn’t a contest, but a doorway into gratefulness.

Now to window two…

–Julia

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