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Friday, September 2, 2022

grass loves: september inklings challenge

Greetings and Happy New School Year to those who observe! (All of us, I believe.) I'm dipping back in to participate in our critique group's monthly challenge, posed to us this month by Margaret Simon.  Her challenge to us was "Choose a photo from This Photo Wants to Be a Poem and share your poem and your process."

Margaret loved Laura Purdie Salas's weekly "15 Words or Less" write-to-an-image exercise so much that when Laura decided to end it at her blog, Margaret took it on at Reflections on the Teche, her own blog, as "This Photo Wants to Be a Poem."

I'm sorry to say that I have not been a regular respondent in either place, although I do love writing to an image. But I did drop in in early August, where I found not only this gorgeous close-up of a seed-head of grass, but Margaret's own beautiful and rich commentary:

 

"We have had a string of rainy days here in South Louisiana. It happens most summers and helps to regulate the rising temperatures. Some days you feel as though you will never dry out. The air is wet. The ground is wet. Your body is wet.

The grass loves all this moisture and it grows and grows. In a nearby empty lot, the grass is almost as tall as I am. On a recent walk I stopped to look at it. Even the weeds of nature that grow out of control are beautiful. Nature is ongoing, reliably replenishing, and ever growing. Maybe your area of the world is hot and dry. Wash yourself in the lushness of the bayou side."


Lovely, yes?  I can't explain what made me want to mess with it, but I did.

 

grass loves


a string of rainy days 

happens     helps the rising


some days 

air is wet ground is wet body is wet


grass loves all this

grows and grows

as tall as walk 

as tall as look 

as tall as beautiful


ongoing reliably 

replenishing lushness



And this is how I messed with it.  

We have had a string of rainy days here in South Louisiana. It happens most summers and helps to regulate the rising temperatures. Some days you feel as though you will never dry out. The air is wet. The ground is wet. Your body is wet.


The grass loves all this moisture and it grows and grows. In a nearby empty lot, the grass is almost as tall as I am. On a recent walk I stopped to look at it. Even the weeds of nature that grow out of control are beautiful. Nature is ongoing, reliably replenishing, and ever growing. Maybe your area of the world is hot and dry. Wash yourself in the lushness of the bayou side.

 

Luckily, Margaret not only did not take offense but liked it very much--thanks for your generosity, Margaret, both in permitting me to erase your words and in offering this gentle little opportunity each week for so long!

Thanks to our host today, Linda at TeacherDance, where there's a cheering new header, and here's where you can find the responses of the other Inklings to this challenge. (And here's a bonus song while you read. I'm not done drowning, myself.)

Linda Mitchell
Molly Hogan
Catherine Flynn
Mary Lee Hahn

15 comments:

  1. Such a brilliant erasure in that it did not make less of Margaret's original words, or the photo, or the grass itself!

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  2. I love what you did with Margaret's words, tweezing out their poetic essence, especially the phrase "grass loves."

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  3. I am fortunate to have poet friends who write of what I do not have, that "air is wet ground is wet body is wet" feeling. You've taken Margaret's words and picture and brought a new feeling of lushness, Heidi. It's lovely to read all the post.Happy weekend!

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  4. You can play with my words any day. I love what you did with them. I feel honored!

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  5. Wow Heidi, you are brave as well as talented, and Margaret is gracious and kind. All commendable traits. I also have been dipping in and out - I didn't contribute to PF in August, giving myself a needed break. And, I've tried Margaret's photo prompt in the past on FB but mine were not very successful contributions - I guess the muse was not with me at the time. I was recently encouraged to try again and maybe, I shall. Thanks for sharing how you messed around with Margaret's already successful work. I love how many PF are also nature lovers. Carol from The Apples in My Orchard

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  6. I love the story of the interweaving inspirations that led to this poem and especially the lines "as tall as walk/as tall as look/as tall as beautiful." I also, as always, enjoy how you play with space. Great response!

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  7. I love what you did here - the final poem, and the process, too. Lush indeed!

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  8. How cool! Thanks for sharing your process!

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  9. Heidi, grass loves is a great title and the last two lines resonant with, as does Margaret's poem-side by side loveliness against Kim's lush photo. Enjoy retirement and your new afterschool job.

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  10. Fun what you pulled out, and I like the shape with lines weaving in and out, and seeing your process too, thanks Heidi!

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  11. Such fun to re-purpose a poem! And I'm glad Margaret saw the beauty in both the original view and your reconfigured musing.

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  12. The thing is...it doesn't look like you messed with or erased anything. It looks like you wrote that on it's own. And, it's beautiful, just beautiful. The repetition of "tall" is the best to me.

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  13. Heidi, I love the companion piece to Margaret's prose. I like the playfulness of the tall lines... "as tall as walk" and "look" and "beautiful." Thanks for showing us your thinking.

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  14. I really love the way this poem sits on the page. The dance of line and space is lovely.

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  15. "as tall as beautiful" is a great line! It's finally pouring rain today here in CT, and this is the perfect poem for the day.

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Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!