Poetry of Pictures 2020

GAIA by James Schempff 
An Ekphrastic Poem
Painting by Anita Ewing, Acrylic, 19 x 23

Emerging out of leaves and flowers
Chaotic wisps of fog dispersing
Before her multi-hued complexion.
Her veiled eyes have crystal vision
Gazing at me, through me, past me
Seeing all within her reign.
I see but a silhouette
My poor perception fails to grasp
The cosmic entity past knowing,
Gaia, progenitor of all that is
Mother of the sea and sky.

Poem by Natalie Lobe
Mosaic by Denise Mitchell

Like an egret after a snail
you, my long-necked mother
dove into the lawns, pastures,
fields of Connecticut
to pluck one four leaf clover
from among a million threes.

You pressed each green treasure
between frayed pages
in The Hebrew Book of Prayer
where Faith met Luck in a Kadish
read at the husband’s grave.
Now the clovers are brittle and pale,

their stems and veins still firm.
The middle of the book where leaves
press best, last the longest

is like your own immortality
which came, not at the end
but the middle green years
when you seized from the grass
your four-leafed charms
your tokens of hope.

The Lone Poppy
Painting by Cynthia Viener Hoff
Poem by Gail Walsh 

I see a poppy in the field.
It stands alone, it will not yield.
Its scarlet blooms and black center,
Provide opium and art to render.
The opium for pain; the art for love,
The addiction to blame for both.

Click Here to listen to poem reading by Gail Walsh

Sonnet for A Watercolor Saint
by Janice Lynch Shuster
Etching by Patricia Card

My heart is in my throat, something tickles in the back
Tears I do not intend to shed come, no matter how I blink
Or turn my face to the light, they fall. My heart is heavy
With what it carries—lives it has born, loves savored or severed
Races run, fears outrun, so much joy jolted in a day.
My neck has pulsed like a highway at night.
Nothing stays past a moment. My heart wraps around itself
Until I cannot hear a thing. I am only waiting for my childhood
Angel to come home again and sit at the foot of my shadow
Where she will stay for the light and limn darkness
With her own great heart that was. Alone these days
Mine is a dull beast, thudding in the hollows. 

I want to feel more and less. Everything and nothing.
I want her to turn my tears to holy rain.

Poem by Natalie Lobe
Mosaic by Denise Mitchell

How would it seem to be climbing a ladder,
wobbling on, rung after rung,
thinking of Jacob, wrestling an angel,
cralling in tones as loud as a trumpet,
“Give me a break from this terrible burden
Why is redemption so far away?”

How would it feel to be groping your way
when you cannot see the top of the ladder,
slowed by an inexplicable burden,
and the distance between each rung.
Wind and thunder chorus like trumpets,
blackness of night obscures the angels.

Yet, you can sense the presence of angels,
a lantern of hope lighting the way.
No need for you to bellow or trumpet,
reach for a star at the top of your ladder.
Somewhere the bells have already rung.
Somehow you feel less of a burden.

As you shed the weight of your burden,
lulled by murmurs of faraway angels,
out of your bones the angst is wrung.
Without understanding, you see a way
to steady your climb, anchor the ladder,
ready your ears for redemption’s trumpet.

Turn to the hollows and bury the trumpet.
Imagine you find relief from your burdens
deep in the earth barely touched by a ladder
at opposite poles from illusory angels;
begin this minute to tunnel your way
beneath the ladder’s bottom rung.

Listen! Canterbury bells must have rung
peals of forgiveness like tiny trumpets
while seedlings burst from the earth the way
a sapling grows unmoored from its burden.
Lift yourself to chateaus of angels
but stay tethered to earth like the foot of a ladder.

Aware that you are wrung from your burdens,
trumpet the news to the legions of angels
who guide your way up the

Launch a Poem by Bonnie Schupp
Photograph by Dale Hall

A blue heron launches
in the harbor fog. I can almost
feel its takeoff, toes outspread,
trusting separation from earth.

I too know about launching.

It is four decades ago
when wind steals my breath.
I perch on the strut, look down,
prepare to release.

I arch my back, spread arms,
uncurl toes, leap with belief
my parachute, my wings,
will glide me safely to earth.

In my solo flight, warped time
wraps around me. I listen to silence
speak about earth connections,
about faith, about living,

about letting go.

Click Here to listen to poem reading by Bonnie Schupp

Poem by Natalie Lobe
Mosaic by Denise Mitchell

Two fledglings
wait on my porch railing,
their wings quiver
as if too wet for take off.
Waiting for what?
A bit more wind to give a boost,
more time to trust
the aero dynamics?
The brown clad parent
primes each, beak to beak
with a safflower seed
plucked from my feeder.
Then she prods,
Move, my darlings, fly.
Let go of the nether,
taste the sky.

Art: Wild Horses by Bonnie Schupp

The Wind at My Back
A Poem by Mary Redfield

The charge for freedom is SO strong.
The wind at my back, the day never seems long!
The mare beside me, she whispers, “Run!”
My gait is steady, I’ll wait for no-one.
I’m glad I’m strong; God made me horse.
My loins and sinews propel me full force.
I imagine the time with no fences around
To stop me roaming; I will always be found
Out in the meadow with the softest of grass,
Stopping to drink when the morning has past;
Basking in sunshine, prancing in rain—
Nothing to stop me, nothing to feign.
Oh the day when the meadow is mine,
And the stars in the sky down on me shine.
Freedom is the spring after winter’s past.
Freedom is the kindness of the softest grass.
But now I run with all my heart
Dreaming of that day which will never start
With reins and saddles and loads aloft,
But resting in the velvet of the grass so soft.

Art: Loaves and Fishes by Gail Walsh

The Boy Who Gave his Lunch
A Poem by Mary Redfield

He brought the loaves and fishes up—his offering was small.
How could this little lunch he brought expand to feed them all?

His eyes got big; his soul was stretched—he saw with his own eyes— The master’s touch with one small prayer had turned into such surprise!

He looked around, the people there, were of all kinds and ways,
But as there together they shared his food all he could do was just be amazed!

“What happens next,” he thought to himself, “to help this wonderful new Master?
“I’ll just return and humbly bow and daily give him all that He’s after!”

The disciples passed the baskets ‘round and filled them with the spare fish and bread.
And what did he see but MORE than before with TWELVE baskets full after all were fed!

His lesson learned he bowed his head and said this simple prayer: “Thank you, Jesus, that you used me today, I’m glad that I was there!”

“Please take my simple devotion to you, I give you my whole heart.
And daily may I give again; I want to do my part!”

The Cactus by Gail Walsh
Cactus, A Poem by Jerry Jones

Dry and no water is sought
This need can’t be bought
Sun and heat bring growth
These roots of mine are shallow

The buds will become flowers
Needles that prick like daggers
Branches stretch like arms
Reaching for the hot sun

The shallowest pot, thin soil
Still works to grow and toil
Compadres not mine also thrive
Their seeds sprout, reach for skies

Life can be long, even harsh
Live and surprise, grow large
Sun, heat, arid all make beauty
The cactus knows the life we don’t

Click Here to listen to poem reading by Jerry Jones

Poem by S.D. Beverly

To be paired with Painting by Audrey Lee

Mysteriously In still of night
Glow of our moon sheds glorious bright light
Amber Rose enlightening mornings to come
Lovers finish sentences for
one another
How sweet can we truly be to
each other?

Art: Nocturnal Ocean
Painting by Flo Ormond