Monday, January 23, 2017

Poems of the Week ~ with Audrey and Annell

Today, my friends, we are featuring three wonderful poems by Audrey Howitt, of Audrey Howitt Poetry, Alive and Well, and Annell Livingston of Somethings I Think About.  Pour yourself a piping hot cup of tea, and settle in to enjoy the words of your fellow poets.

This poem from Audrey  really took my breath away when I first read it. Let's take a look:

Audrey Howitt photo

i met you in the sun

you wrote your poetry
on clouds
blue on white
a daisy, your pen

until grey streaks pushed
your kind aside
deeper and deeper
into the edges
pulling petals apart
a litany to tiny ends

the wilt of a berry
on your breast
rebirth it's red
this new ink
the leaves your pages

poetry, your breath.

September 16, 2016

Sherry: Wow! So beautiful! Tell us about it, Audrey.

Audrey: I am honored and thrilled to be featured---I feel like my poetry is shifting right now--or I as a poet am shifting--one or the other or both--anyway, something of the old is being left behind as the new starts to take more focus--this piece was about that process for me--it feels like a loss of some kind, and I am uncertain right now where this shift is taking me--but I am trusting that it will be a good place for me--

Sherry: It is always interesting, when things start shifting within. Would you tell us a bit about this inner shift?

Audrey: So as much as I understand this shift, and I am not really sure that I do, I sense a kind of deepening or maturing that is starting to happen in my writing. I think I have been writing for 5 or 6 years now. When I first started writing, I was always trying to make my pieces poetic--make them beautiful by putting the words together in a way that pleased me--they were pretty I think--and then I started running out of things to say in that way--I would sit for long periods of time with blank paper in front of me, or worse, start writing and then hating it, just tearing up my work--I began to think that maybe that was all there was to my writing--and that maybe I was done --I had never really thought much about what I wrote--I wrote it and very seldom edited anything.

Now, I feel as though I am waking up a bit more in my writing. I am paying more attention to metaphor and the emotional content that underlies the writing.  I am also sitting with my pieces longer than I used to before I post them. I am trying to understand where they come from and what they mean to me on a deeper level --all of that means that I am posting less often--and working and re-working my pieces more than I used to.

I want my pieces to be good--really good--and I think for that to happen, I have to tell the truth in my writing--and as I move more toward truth, I find that making my pieces pretty is less interesting--that is the story behind this piece--

I feel a bit adrift--

Sherry: Sometimes these shifts can feel discombobulating, but I view them as very positive, personally, as it means growth is happening. And I think the most authentic poems, the ones we respond to most strongly, are the ones that speak the poet's truth.

We will watch where your work takes you with interest, Audrey. You posted another poem recently that I found a very positive response to the political climate we are struggling with these days.  Let's take a look:

Audrey Howitt photo

A Reweaving

i awoke to a world gone mad
hatred its main bargaining chip
and though i didn't want to,
i cried with each step this morning,
picked up worn linen
woven in youth's innocence
its nubs a part of its landscape

i will reweave it
over time
make it stronger
though you may shout your imprecations
loudly in my ear
i will not falter
i will not halt
i will not hate

so that our children
need not fear

Audrey: I was stunned at the election results. I am still stunned and trying to find words to put to the feelings that not only I, but so many people are experiencing now. So many people are really terrified at what this election will mean for this country, the world, the planet---so many people will suffer I fear. Since the election, hate crimes have skyrocketed here--even at the local elementary school, racist graffiti was found this last Friday. And I think we are just seeing the beginning--

I had not been to a protest since the Vietnam War era--but I went to one Sunday, and held hands and sang the old songs--We Shall Overcome seems so appropriate right now. 

Sherry: We are being set back 50 years. At my age, I feel very tired, from all the overcoming. Sigh. 

I love "I will not hate so our children need not fear." That really speaks to me, my friend. But it is hard to hold onto hope.  I find your work strong and powerful; you seem to be tapping into a deep well these days. Thanks so much  for sharing your poem and your thoughts with us today, and where you are at on your journey.

This fall, Annell shared a pensive poem about memories of past summers, that I think you will find very moving.

Fragments Geometry and Change
by Annell Livingston (2015)  
#204  11”x11”  gouache on w/c paper  

regrets        lie around       like dead flowers in the garden

the season for fresh blooms     is gone    i prepare for winter

leaving wet suits    on the line      summer's laughter fleeting

yet my heart is filled   with the warm cargo of summer   beach parties

picnics      hold the shell to your ear       gentle breezes heard

waves pound the shore   seagulls scream   the sun sets in the west                                                                                          

regrets left behind     to return another season      with thoughts of you

hearts entwined with silver thread        there is no danger we will forget

our tongues lap warm milk from the bowl            you were torn from me

years gobbled up                     your brindled coat thrown over the chair

your presence remains            memories of summer        fill my heart

from the bridge             i see the ship               leaving shore  

mist settles in       the view becomes obscure      the afternoon light

lingers                  still, i try to follow the ship         until out of sight          

there is a trail across the water      white foam       reflections of sky

with a tiny needle    i make small stitches     to hold memories together

bind pages into the book    whisper words           hoping you will hear 

October 7, 2016

Sherry: This pings at my heart, Annell, the loss, the golden memories, the stitching together and, especially "hoping you will hear." Sigh.

Annell: Thanks for asking for this poem, and for giving me the opportunity to talk about it, and what I was thinking.

regrets       lie around                like dead flowers in the garden

(so many things I wish I had done differently…..)

the season for fresh blooms  (spring)     is gone    i prepare for winter

leaving wet suits           on the line 
(children leave their wet swim suits on the line, and at the end of summer,
you will often find them there)
summer's laughter fleeting     yet my heart is filled

(though my heart is filled with regrets, it is also filled with the fun we had)                                       

with the warm cargo of summer        beach parties

picnics             hold the shell to your ear  
(when summer is over, that one precious shell, found at the beach is there on the shelf, 
when you hold it to your ear, you can still hear the sounds of summer)           

gentle breezes heard

waves pound the shore       seagulls scream            the sun sets in the west 

(the idea of the setting sun, end of day, end of summer—
there is a certain sadness  in this idea)                                                                                

 regrets left behind (sometimes we forget the regrets)      

to return another season         with thoughts of you 
(yet when I think of you, the regrets return)

hearts entwined with silver thread 
(I have an image that I carry, my heart entwined with the ones I love 
with silver thread  that cannot be broken)    

there is no danger we will forget  
(we can never forget the ones we love…the love remains)

our tongues lap warm milk from the bowl 
(I am thinking of my precious kitty here, the beauty of his being)             

you were torn from me (and quickly my thoughts change, your death,
which came too soon)

years gobbled up (the years you were lost to me) 
your brindled coat thrown over the chair imagining it was the coat you wore

your presence remains  (and even when a person is gone, they are still there,
they pop up unexpected anytime)

memories of summer     fill my heart (still I think about the time
we did have together)

from the bridge   i see the ship  (again imaging, when you died, you left in a ship)              
leaving shore    

mist settles in      the view becomes obscure (I follow the ship with my eyes,
until I can see it no more, you have gone to a place I cannot follow….yet)
the afternoon light

lingers       still, I try to follow the ship          until out of sight 

there is a trail across the water      white foam        reflections of sky

(perhaps it is the silver thread, that is wound around our hearts…
that creates that line to you)

with a tiny needle          i make small stitches        to hold memories together

(I imagine myself, sewing, making stitches, holding memories together)

bind pages into the book (a book of memories)   whisper words
perhaps I speak to myself, or maybe to  you)

(I hold you close, and in some mysterious way, I hope you will hear
what I say to you, you will know how much I loved you)
  hoping you will hear

Note:  It has been two years and five months since my Son died, in some ways it happened yesterday, and in other ways it has been a lifetime.  The shock has softened, and I am glad he no longer suffers the pain of his illness, (here it comes) but I still miss him so.  Wish he had not died.  Wish I could have known he would die so soon….wish it could have been different….he was who he was, and I am who I am….I suppose it was as it was, and could not have been another way.  I wonder….what makes us think it would have been better if it had been “my way?”   I am grateful I was there when he died.  To be with him, to comfort him, to hold him…it all happened so quickly, the healing takes time, an important element in the healing.

This poem could have been called a “Mother’s Lament.”  There are some things in life that are hard, and over time, they do not fade away, they crystallize into marble.  Some regrets will always be there.  We will live with them for as long as we live.                       

October 7, 2016 

Sherry: I think every mother's heart is filled with regrets, things we wish we had done differently. But we know we did our best. Thank you for this very moving poem, Annell, and for sharing your thoughts behind and between the lines.

We hope you enjoyed these beautiful offerings, friends, each one straight from the poet's loving heart. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


  1. Beautiful poems, beautiful women. Thank you, Sherry,


  2. Thank you Sherry for getting Audrey and Annell to talk about themselves today. It is always a pleasure to visit these two great poets and now to find out a little more about them.

  3. It is always special, finding out the stories behind the poems. That is why this Monday feature never gets old for me. And we have such wonderful poets to learn about, too. Thank you, Audrey and Annell, for all you have shared with us today.

  4. I really enjoyed the chance to learn a bit more about Audrey and Annell.

  5. Thank you Sherry! It was wonderful to read more about Annell and her work--her work is so beautifully done!

    1. You are most welcome, Audrey. Thank YOU for your beautiful poems, and for sharing your thoughts. Write on, my friend!

  6. Thank you Sherry for such a heartfelt feature with two of my favorite poets.

  7. Two of our finest poets - Beautiful in word and being.. So good to read your work and see you here

  8. Sherry,

    thank you for featuring these two wonderful poets and persons. :)


    i believe that if you can feel these shifts in your writings, it is, as Sherry has pointed out, a positive thing. i think it shows that your poetry is evolving, that you are paying more attention to the details. i could be wrong, of course, but personally, i think a poet is always evolving in his /her craft, as the poet is always changing in his/her life, environment and relationships.
    i loved 'A Reweaving'. it makes me think of the 'fabric' of a nation that is torn.


    you do have a very unique way of formatting your work. like little nuggets of thoughts that you want the reader to digest. :)

    i like the analysis and explanation of your poem, 'Memories Of Summer'. i really gives an insight into what and why that image or word is used.

  9. Like two fine wines, a perfect pairing. I am honored to be in your post today, and to be paired with Audrey! Thank you so much communicate is the quest.

    1. And you do it so well. Thank you for taking part, Annell. I like that "two fine wines". Smiles.

  10. Oh wow these are amazing and much needed reading today....well done and thanks Sherry!

  11. Yes, Sherry, I agree – beautiful poems.

    Audrey, I have actually noticed a quantum leap in your work lately. Always enjoyable, it has become even more deeply satisfying to read.

    Annell, I've always loved your poetry and its unique style. I think this one is exceptionally moving.

    Many thanks to you all.

  12. I have noticed a deepening, as well, Audrey. These sea changes bring up some good stuff.

  13. So amazing to see the creative process, how the poems were conceived and personal changes and sorrow translate into words. Thanks so much for sharing this Audrey ans Annell. Brave and beautiful words. And Sherry for bringing this to us.

  14. Two great poets!
    Thank you, Sherry.
    Hugs for you Annell. So sorry for your loss.

  15. O Audrey! I am on a similar journey with my writing. These two clear metaphors leave me breathless. I, too, hold linen unravelling to reweave courageously. And Annell! Your "Memories of Summer" is my favorite of your poems--that warm cargo we take into each next season. For some of us, the losses are small, and for some like you the losses are unbearable. Yet this poem shows a way. Thank you, all three. Sherry, your skill at combinations is quite unique.

    1. Oh--Audrey--holding you and your new hip in the Light. However did you march? Bless you.


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