Monday, December 7, 2015

Poems of the Week ~ by Grace, Myrna Rosa and Debi Swim

It is our pleasure this week to bring you three beautiful poems, penned by Mary Grace Guevara of Everyday Amazing, Myrna Rosa, of Daily Spirit, and Debi Swim, of George Place Poetry. Each poem reflects the poet's unique perspective, and an explanation of how the poems came to them. I do hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

This beautiful photograph is the work of  Beth Moon
used with permission. Her collection Diamond Nights, 
photos of Africa's oldest trees against starry night skies, 
can be enjoyed here.

Gifts of an African Night Sky

by barren land
ancient trees gnarled by storm dust
rise with garland
& dress shimmering of silver raindrops-
tonight, she dances under diamond-lit sky


love the trees
as your beloved children,
said her grandmother to her-
so she planted trees until her last day
tonight, she hears their music for the gods


think for yourself
and question everything,
her teacher told her-
so she broke bread with friends & strangers
tonight, under sea of stars, she writes


Sherry: How absolutely beautiful! "Tonight she hears their music for the gods." I can see her! I love Africa, so this poem really speaks to me. How did it come to you, Grace?

Grace: I like getting inspiration from pictures, and one of my favorite blogs is Colossal. I came upon this post : Diamond Nights: Africa's Oldest Trees Photographed Against Starry Night Skies by Beth Moon, and I was blown away by the idea of watching those old trees on moonless nights in remote areas of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. 

I have not been to Africa, but I wanted to capture the experience of seeing those aged trees at night. There's a lot of character in those old trees, and, like old people, they are filled with wisdom. I try to imagine what they will tell me, if they have voices, and that gave me the idea to play "gifts" and "teacher". 

Sherry: I was transported to the night skies of Africa by both photo and poem. How amazing it must be to look up at the heavens there.

Now let's take a look at Myrna's wonderful poem of inner fire.

The Raging Grannies of Amherst, MA

The Fire Within

I remember times when we sat around
the fire of our anger
espousing fumes of rebellion.
The mood so high, singing scorching songs,
outcries of liberation, validation,
our cumbaya moments of passionate causes
when the eve of destruction gave rise
to our individuation from the System,
the Man, or anyone over 30
because we were children
of flowers.

Today, we don't sit around so much anymore
fanning a wild fire demanding reform.
Life has changed us,
the way all good teachers do.

But our youthful fire has not been extinguished.
It rages differently,
hotter than before
when we knew less about real love,
true freedom, the value of our world.
We, blooming flowers,
will continue to fuel that flame,
until it burns us all.

Sherry: I adore "Life has changed us, the way all good teachers do." And I especially love that our fire "has not been extinguished. It burns differently now." So true of our generation of flower children, who still hold those shining ideals of a world of social justice. Tell us about this poem, Myrna.

Myrna: Recently, I heard a woman recite a poem about the early 60's.  She cited "The Howl", by Allen Ginsberg and her poem contrasted the days of protests and demonstrations with her perceived lack of conviction nowadays, the need for a "movement".   

I started thinking about my generation and wondering if all our youthful ideals were really abandoned.  My conclusion was that we have just grown, developed different perspectives and strategies to confront injustice and all the other ailments of this world.  I'm convinced that most of us have retained our fire, our passion and principles about contributing towards a better society.  At least, I hope so. 

These were the thoughts that gave rise to this poem, which, unlike most of my other poems, was written quickly with little struggle.  I love when that happens, but it is rare for me.  I'm glad it did, and mostly I'm glad you liked it.  Thank you so much for selecting it Sherry.

Sherry: We thank you, my friend, for writing it so eloquently. Now we'll take a look at Debi's interesting response to the famous painting by Van Gogh.

Vincent Van Gogh, The Starry Night

Is anyone in the village below awake?
It is late, late, sleepers in houses dark and quiet.
How can they rest when overhead there is a riot?

Stars and worlds ringing like church bells,
moon ablaze throbbing in hi-hat jumps
a galaxy of milky white tambourine thumps

I cover my ears against the dissonance.
Why aren’t there people in the streets
wailing in anger for the noise to cease?

Oh, starry night. Oh, raucous, strident, starry night,
your beauty bellows in discordant din
and I, I fall to my knees in your poignant orbital spin.

Sherry: I felt that falling to one's knees as I read, Debi. 

Debi: I’ve admired the beauty of "The Starry Night" many times, and have written about it, but as I looked this time, I thought, this scene is LOUD.  A cacophony of sounds, like each member of an orchestra tuning up individually before the start of the concert, and I imagined Van Gogh with his hands over his ears looking into the sky.

Sherry:  Oh, that is a cool idea. I can see him, hands over his ears, and his horrified expression. An unexpected take on the famous painting. I love it!

Well, my friends? I hope you have enjoyed these wonderful offerings. Thank you for coming by so faithfully to support and appreciate our fellow poets. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? (At this point, I have NO idea, LOL) It might be you!


  1. Sherry, you totally blow my mind! How you must plot these small collections, plot and savior and save. It's my favorite feature. I've always enjoyed the way Grace sees the world and portrays it in her poems. This one is slightly different than usual. It still builds its three part wisdom but without the sensuality of the human body. Instead, Grace I love how it establishes right relationship between species. I identify completely with Myrna's poem being a flower child anti-war activist myself. You know it, Myrna. You speak my mind. And Debi's poem broke the silence of Van Gogh's starry night. Debi, you had me yelling out "Yes," covering my ears and falling right into Munch's "The Scream"! Wonderful!

  2. Grace astounds me with her sensuous writing. Trees can definitely stimulate our senses and I fell this one deeply. Debi's poem is remarkable in its interpretation of this raucous starry night. I am so happy and honored that you place me with such impressive and talented poets. Thank you Sherry.

  3. Three beautiful poets and poems - a wonderful illustration of the gifts the world can bring...nature...the earth...teachers and inspirational friends and people..maybe even a troubled mind capable of creating beauty when there is torment and loudness inside...a wonderful set of interviews which fit together perfectly

  4. I am familiar with each poet and enjoy their talent, so unique, so them and so beautiful.

  5. Yes, Susan, I admit I do enjoy preparing these poetic treats. Poems of the Week, with their creators' explanation of how the poems were born is one of my fave features, too. And we have such a wealth of talent to draw from. Thank you, Grace, Myrna and Debi for reaching out of the screen and grabbing me with each of these wonderful poems.

  6. Thanks so much Sherry for the feature ~ And I am proud to be featured along side the poetic talents of Myrna and Deb ~

  7. Oh yes, wonderful poems all, from three wonderful poets whose work I very much enjoy and admire. Loving them all, I too relate particularly to Myrna's sentiments, being an activist/idealist of that era myself. (And oh, I so love the pic and slogan of The Raging Grannies!)

  8. Three excellent poems! Three talented poets. Thank you, Sherry, and Grace and Myrna and Debi. You all have so much to offer.

  9. What a night treat reading these poems today in the pause I'm(and my muse) taking... beautiful dialog in Grace's poem, 'fire within' by Myrna and great Debi's take on famous painting! Many thanks to all!

  10. Wonderful selections Sherry!...could feel that fire of life in each poem…I was really transported to that vibrant continent Grace among the diamond lit sky and the ancient souls of the Baobab, love the photo too….
    A beautiful poem Myrna…wish our inner fire glows in love…“because we were children / of flowers.” the lines…
    This is a grand response to Van Gogh’s The Starry Night Debi…you’ve beautifully worded the artist’s passion and ‘lust for life’ expressed in the art work…

  11. These poems make me crave writing again~ So, many unique views and intimate thoughts~ Each poet's voice magically transform us-to these places~ Bravo, ladies~ Thank you, Sherry for sharing these gifts~

    1. So nice to see you stopping by, Ellie. We would LOVE to read some of your beautiful poems, any time!!!!!We miss you!

  12. Three beautifully written poems, thank you for sharing these poems with us all.

  13. Great selection Sherry... Kudos to all the wonderful poets...

  14. Thank you, Sherry for sharing our work. Grace that picture is wonderful and so are your words. Myrna, I've wondered where that passion has gone but your poem shows me a more mature understanding. Thank you so much for expressing what I couldn't.

  15. Thanks for this wonderful selection of outstanding poems. As Van Gogh has always been a favorite of mine, I am thrilled with Debis perspective on this painting.

  16. Oh wow, YES! I am blown away as I must have missed these amazing poems so thank you Sherry!

    Grace I absolutely adore the idea of watching the trees against the starry
    nights and your poem is a story to cherish! I love my trees, 'love the trees
    as your beloved children'.

    Myrna, what a delight, 'our cumbaya moments of passionate causes' anthem for us blooming flowers...such sage words!

    Debi a delightful take on a favorite painting of mine too...'and I, I fall to my knees in your poignant orbital spin'...I also always felt it loud.....but there are those times I can also look at it and see the bright light and it calms me...a fabulous poem!

  17. Oh I really enjoyed this, three great poems by three excellent poets... Great to know a little bit more of the background of the poems too...

    Truly enjoyed

  18. Such powerful BEAUTIFUL work from this trio of amazing poets! Thank you, all for sharing and to you Sherry for this feature! Wonderful!

  19. A bit late but, I am glad I stopped over to read the delightful poems of the featured poets. All three are very talented in their craft.

  20. Great to be here, knowing more of very familiar names, Grace, Myrna and Debi. They are brilliant in their poems.Looking forward to continually connecting with all the wonderful ladies for the ensuing year ahead. Thanks to you too Sherry!


  21. I luv trees and i'm blown away by the offerings of these these 3 Pantry Poets. Thanks Sherry

    much love...


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