Monday, July 23, 2018

Poems of the Week by Sanaa, Donna and Colleen

I have some meaningful poems for your enjoyment today, my friends, penned by Sanaa Rizvi, who blogs at A Dash of Sunny,  Donna Donabella, of Living From Happiness, and Colleen Redman, of  Loose Leaf Notes. Let's not wait another minute. Enjoy!


In my darkest days you are the first
glow of dawn that lights the sky,
your pain is as though splitting of 
seashell that hems in understanding.
I am muse, I am song, yet I am woe
which others reckon their own,
as unadulterated heart I am sound
of the sea crashing upon rocks.
I wish to write words to delve deep
into the poetic mind and retrieve
irrevocable nothings that touch,
hear and taste a world which keeps
me from being myself.
I, am forever bound, to ameliorate
agony of knowing desire better.
Sanaa: Sigh... I remember this poem as if it was written yesterday. It was for Susie Clevenger's prompt where she had featured Frida Kahlo.

The poem 'Ode to a Passionate Muse' is a glimpse of my sub-conscious. It's everything I have ever felt about poetry since the day I began writing.

I believe poetry is like a one-sided conversation where one has to express, keeping in mind that nothing should be left out and that there should be no room for confusion.

To me, the muse is as though a calling, a strong inner impulse toward a course of action. It's like listening to the heartbeat and attempting to translate rhythm into words and image.

Keeping in harmony with the quote by Kahlo, I sought to describe myself in the process of fulfilling the desires of muse, hence the closing lines.
When I sit down to write, I focus more on emotion rather than imagery because I believe if a reader is able to relate to the poem, only then do the words truly sing. It's when I have managed to pour a bit of soul into my poem is when I know it's finished. 

Sherry: That is a very good description: pouring a bit of your soul into your poems. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful poem.

Donna's recent poem follows the theme of the poet's love affair with words. Let's take a peek.

image by Donna Donabella

The Drought

Clouds drift along in the blue-grey sky,
Words and phrases obscuring the sun.
Drifting in and out of my consciousness,
Not wanting to be captured on paper.

I am like the earth and sky
Seeking balance between rain and drought.
My heart knows when
It will be time to come home again.

Distracted at present-
A monarch floats into my line of sight,
While a hummingbird peeks through the window
To see only its reflection against the vast darkness.

For now I am content
To let the words drift among the clouds.
Soon enough they will meld into a storm, and
Rain down freely again, singing on the page.

Donna: This poem actually was started a few years ago, and like the poem says, it drifted in and out of my consciousness until it fully formed recently. The finished poem came as I was thinking about how storm clouds form, with needed rain to nourish the earth. My words form too, waiting to rain down on me at just the right moment. Sometimes I have to wait with those words for quite a while as if I was in a drought. And when the time is right the words will speak again like rain falling from the clouds. 

Ideas for poems or beginnings of poems can come to me as lines, phrases or just a subject that inspires me. These words come from deep within or in response to something I am seeing in the moment. That is my favorite way to write poetry.

But poetry can be a bit elusive. I have learned not to obsess about it when the poem just won't come to fruition. Instead I keep a journal of phrases, lines, ideas, and revisit them until they decide to form fully into a poem. It's interesting to see how the poem may change or evolve with time. Somtimes not at all as I thought it would turn out. But I let the poem go where it wants....letting go of my expectations for it.

Sherry: I so love "I am like the earth and sky." Such beauty! We do wait for the words to come and, thankfully, eventually they do.

Colleen's poem explores grief, that country we visit from time to time, and which informs our work. 

The Scenic Route

Sorrow is a beautiful country

where you meet your destiny

or the love of your life

But you won't know its hidden fullness

if you don't speak its underlying language

or trust in the lay of its land

Because its depth is as far as its width

and its jewel is disguised by darkness

You have to dig deep to mine its value

be willing to bear and wear its shine

Sherry: I love the truth in "you have willing to bear and wear its shine". 

Colleen: When two of my brothers died a month apart in 2001, I let myself experience grief to the fullest.  As painful and life-changing as that was, it ultimately made me a better person.  Grief carved me out in deeper places, and I recognized it as an integral part of love.  I began taking field notes from the trenches of grief’s frontline and that turned into a book.   The Jim and Dan Stories  was used in a Radford University grief and loss class for counselors for several years. 

More recently, I came across a book titled The Wild Edge of Sorrow by Francis Weller.  My poem The Scenic Route sprang from that title and the thought that “sorrow” is such a beautiful word.  There’s heartfelt work involved in sorrow, but there is also a beauty and privilege to tending to it.  I remembered how some of my favorite songs as a teenager were the ones that touched into my sorrowful longing and made me choke up.

In the Jim and Dan Stories, I wrote: “In this physical world, we have to mine for treasure. Gold and silver and precious gems are not usually found lying around on the surface of the earth. It’s the same with us, we have to excavate our own treasure, down through the door of our childhood, through the pain of what hurts, into the grief of our losses. Life nudges us to go deeper because to live on the surface is superficial. There’s so much more.” That still holds.

Sherry: How devastating, to lose two brothers one month apart. I so appreciate your wisdom in being able and willing to travel through grief so bravely. "There's no way out, but through," as they say. Thank you for sharing this, Colleen. 

To finish off, I would love to include your poem equating writing poetry to gardening. It seems the perfect way to close.

Colleen Redman photo

The Poem Garden

Time to weed the poem

to plant a row of words

to turn the phrases

that bloom the colors

to follow the root

to the source of truth

for the sustenance

of the soul

Sherry: I love the idea of planting words for the sustenance of the soul.

Thank you, Sanaa, Donna and Colleen, for sharing these wonderful poems, and for your participation at Poets United. We appreciate you!

Do come back, friends, and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


  1. Lovely choices, Sherry, poems and poets!

  2. I think so, too. Smiles! We have so much talent in this community! Makes my job easy!

  3. Beautiful trio. Sherry! They are always an inspiration as attested to with their accompanying poems!


  4. A wonderful selection of poems here, Sherry! All of them are beautifully rendered … and, all of them, I feel (each in their own unique way) seeking and then, finding words to illuminate a transcendent experience or passage: to the 'deep within' … to 'the soul'.

    Once again fascinating backstories that speak to the 'birth' of stunning pieces of poetry. Thank you, Sanaa, Donna and Colleen - and, of course, Sherry. Great work on this Poets!

  5. Oh I love the choice of poets and poems this week. Sanaa, in addition to your poem, I liked your discussion of your muse, and I can definitely see that in your poetry you concentrate on emotion! Donna, I enjoyed reading about how you write poetry, how you keep a journal, etc. and eventually the words and phrases birth a poem. (smiles) You really are disciplined about this. Colleen, I had no idea you lost two brothers a month apart. That must have been just awful to live through. I do like the idea of words as sustenance for the soul. So true.

    Sherry, you chose three poets with different styles, poems on different themes. Each made me think! Thank you.

  6. You are most welcome! I love putting poems and poets together that I think will work well in a feature. It is very satisfying.

  7. What a wonderful selection of poems Sherry! So enjoyed the contentment for creation in each of the poems. Thank you Sanaa, Donna and Colleen. Colleen, you are right. Sometimes painful and life changing sorrow makes us a better person. I could so relate. Thank you all.

  8. What beauty and wisdom each of these poems has. I feel this is a post I might want to return to again and again. Thank you all! Meanwhile, among many gems I am particularly struck by Colleen's phrase (very poetic though not in a poem): "field notes from the trenches of grief’s frontline". It could make a wonderful book title (just a thought).

  9. Thank you so much for featuring us this week, Sherry πŸ’ž

    Donna, I love your thoughts about keeping a journal of phrases, lines, ideas! There are times when a poem dances around in my head unwilling to pour until I chase after it. You're right one must not obssess over it.πŸ’ž I adore your poem "The Drought" and the image "meld into a storm Rain down freely again, singing on the page." So beautiful!πŸ’ž

    Colleen, I had no idea you lost two brothers a month apart. It's never easy to cope with such grief and I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Please accept my condolences. I was particularly struck by the closing image of your poem "The Scenic Route"..πŸ’ž poignant!

    1. It was truly a pleasure, Sanaa. Thank you for saying yes!

    2. And thank you for the opportunity, Sherry πŸ’ž

  10. Sherry, thank you for thinking of me and my special means so much. And it is always such a privilege to be chosen to be featured here....and especially among such incredible poets.

    Sanaa, I loved your poem....indeed I agree writing poetry 'It's like listening to the heartbeat and attempting to translate rhythm into words and image.' A spiritual experience....and the way you pour your emotions into your poetry is what I love so much about your poetry.

    Colleen, I too want to offer my condolences....such a deep personal loss is the hardest part of life....and deep personal grief spurred me back into writing poetry and I found like you, 'Life nudges us to go deeper because to live on the surface is superficial. There’s so much more.' Your poetry is always a treat for me and these are 2 of my personal favorites. The Poem Garden is especially close to my heart....

    'to follow the root
    to the source of truth
    for the sustenance
    of the soul'

    Your words are how I feel when I mine each and every poem from deep within my roots. Writing is what sustains my soul. And I thank you and Sanaa for your beautiful words.

  11. Thank you for sharing your work and your wisdom, Donna. I know how you love gardening and, in your words, I see you tilling the soil and mining the blooms from within in your poems. Smiles.

  12. It's been good to get to know you both better Sanaa and Donna, through your poems and your words about the poems. Sometimes I think I like the bios and back stories almost more than the work because I'm always so curious about each persons gift and what moves them to share it. So poems and words together are great. For me, the bearing and wearing, shining and mining goes on. I lost my sister in late 2016 and my mother nine months later. Thanks for all you do Sherry!

    1. Sadness. Your work shines from the depths.

    2. Tragic πŸ˜₯ thank you for your kind words, Colleen.

  13. Colleen, so many losses! My goodness, I can only imagine the weight of it. I, too, love the stories behind the poems so much. Knowing the poet, one understands his or her poetry even more. That's why I love my job so much! Thanks for sharing with us. You inspire me!

  14. These poems are beautifully birthed from poets 3, finding word treasures, deep within themselves.
    Sherry; thanks for the up close on these three poets.

    much love...

  15. What a beautiful community of poets we are. It is always a pleasure to learn a little bit more about our fellow writers that we meet each week to be able to comment on their work and hear what they think about us too! Thank you so much Sanaa, Donna and Colleen (and Sherry of course) for delighting us once again.

  16. i love these three-poet features! Thank you!

  17. I loved each poem. And I love each poet. Words put together to talk about thoughts, ever opening a new door, a new thought. Thank you Sanaa, Donna and Colleen and you, Sherry. Always wonderful!!


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