Monday, November 18, 2019

Betty O'Hearn's "Homes of Crayons" after Diane Podolsky

Art of Poetry Catawba Valley's Patricia Deaton reads the poem by Betty O'Hearn at the tour of Alexander County Library on July 13, 2019. The FOUND - Art of Community exhibit was curated by library board trustee chair, Miranda Burgin.

by Betty O’Hearn
after The Neighborhood by Diane Podolsky

I grew up on a street of colored homes.
Each had a personality.
Inside the home was special.
Mother taught us to love on our neighbors.

Our neighbors were all pale until I was sixteen.
The colors of the homes outside were the same.
Inside the homes became colorful.
Some of our neighbors left.
They preferred only pale neighbors.

Mother taught us that God loved us all.
People were just different ‘crayons’ .
My personal preference is different colors.
My granddaughters grew up among crayons
of brown, black, yellow and white.

Love your neighbor as thyself.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Melissa Hager's "Reverie" after Cheyenne Chumley

The photograph by Cheyenne Chumley that inspired Melissa Hager's poem for the Art of Poetry Catawba Valley tour of Alexander County Library. 

by Melissa Hager
after Home by Cheyenne Chumley

"I wish you had a dishwasher,"
my mother chimes
as we stare at the mound of dishes,
relics from our luncheon.

"I don't mind," I tell her
and I don't, as I later stand
lovingly washing every plate,
each wine glass and fork.

Smile at the memories made
over pork barbecue, heavenly
beans, coconut rum soaked
ice cream with salted caramel.

I remember Dad's smug grin
seizing a round of tumbling dice,
daughter's gloat as she rolls
over three grand,

Mom's comically dejected
face of Farkle
as she forfeits a straight
to a die gone bad.

Grapefruit powered dish detergent
scrapes away sauciness, adds
to my heightened senses.
A quiet revisit of the day in soapy hands.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Doug McHargue's "Safe Shells" after Diane Podolsky

Doug McHargue photographed at Alexander County Library on July 13, 2019 at the FOUND - Art of Community exhibit tour. 

by Doug McHargue
after Little Pink Houses by Diane Podolsky

My mind now a gray film,
but I see the houses in pink,
boxy and square as the fifties
holding tight to things but the color
of Easter hats Jackie made famous,
pillboxes for our heads filled
with sedate dreams we thought
she'd have, and my A-line dress
pink, too, the color of a house
on the beach where you search
for shells and if lucky
find something big,
almost regal with curves
and flourishes, and you think
as long as the creature stays
deep in that pink,
safe myths live.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Beverly Finney's "Quest" after Shauna Caldwell

Beverly Finney reads her poem inspired by the Shauna Caldwell photograph exhibited in the FOUND - Art of Community collection at Alexander County Library. Art of Poetry Catawba Valley toured the library on July 13, 2019.

by Beverly Finney
after Goldenrod by Shauna Caldwell

Already, I am missing you too much,
regretting what I can’t retrieve.
What I have, besides, are hazy memories
of laughter, shared heartaches, comfort.

Now, I am a beggar wishing
for a winged horse I could ride
into the deep hereafter
in search of hours carelessly lost,
strike some bargain to retrieve them.
In its place, I shall climb to the stars
in the dark, looking for the tall stalk
of fire you have become, ethereal,
now too perfect for this day-to-day world.

In memory of Betty Jean Farthing Hughes

Monday, September 16, 2019

Patricia Deaton's "The Year We Lost Ourselves" after Mona Woody

Patricia Deaton photographed beside the Mona Woody painting that inspired her poem at Alexander County Library on July 13, 2019.

by Patricia Deaton
after Dream Up by Mona Woody

She was gone in March, unexpectedly.
We collectively missed her; 
the mother, daughter, wife, sister,
cousin and grandmother of two
who eventually wouldn’t remember her at all.

Without warning, no more of her laughter
or self-deprecating humor; no one to ask 
when her helpful heart gave out. 

We tried to celebrate the birthdays that came.
Without her, our cheer rang hollow, especially 
on her own birthday. Then on her son’s,
who gulped and smiled through his bewilderment. 

Easter, and the little ones wore rabbit ears
hid plastic eggs, a surprise in each. We knew 
we would never be surprised again by anything.

Mother’s Day lasted a thousand days.
Fireworks on the 4th lit our faces 
hollow-eyed and reverent in a shower of light
that disappeared like sparks going out.

On Halloween, no one wanted to participate.
No trick could match Death’s trick. No treat, enough.

We bowed to Thanksgiving and Christmas, still
couldn’t say that she had died. Instead we said
When she was sick or when that happened to her
as if she had miraculously made it through 
and we weren’t all changed forever.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Betty O'Hearn's "Touching Digits" after Chris Parsons

by Betty O’Hearn
after Different and Yet the Same
by Northview Middle School 6th Grade Students
                                                                  with teacher Chris Parsons

If only more of them touched.
If only more of you cared.
If only there was not so much hate.

We need to listen to their pain.
We need to reach out.
We need to show more tenderness.

It doesn’t matter if they are strange.
It doesn’t matter if they are soiled.
It doesn’t matter if they are unusual.

If only we touched each other more.
We need to touch a stranger’s digits.
Just reach out, and spread your love!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Melissa Hager's "Stained" after Paul Sink

by Melissa Hager
after Paul Sink’s Open Doors Lead
                           to New Experiences of Community

Hundreds of meals dished, donated
Trader Joe's steaks ground to make
meatloaf. Buttered bread, baskets
passed back for more. Big people,
little people, homeless on the streets,
community surviving day by day
on handouts, shared cigarettes.
Mary in the kitchen works
magic on beef, stewed cabbage,
fluffy biscuits. Sherrill mans the pans,
baking sheets filled with golden
topped delicacies. Amy directs
serving bowls; knows every square
inch available on countertops to fill.
Served home-style, the closest
many will get. All said and devoured,
kitchen to clean, mats to carry
out and wash. Later notice stains
on T-shirt, pray they will wash
away. But they don't; meat grease
marks its territory for keeps.
Then, like grandma refusing to wash
window fingerprints left from grandbaby
visits, decide to like imperfections.
Testimony for the day the body of Christ
was served on the streets. Of His damaged
hands, bloodstains, a great sacrifice.
Amen, amen.

-for Haywood Street Congregation, Asheville, NC

Monday, August 26, 2019

Courtney Gant's "Why Creativity?" after hannah grace

by Courtney Gant
after Don’t Forget To Dream by hannah grace

Because my feelings are
As a river
Flowing through and through

Because my life is parchment
And my soul is the quill,
Dripping in ink

Because my mind is
Words, words,
Oh, so many words

Because my aspirations
Lie within the very craft
Of a word, a note, a stroke

Because I am
A communicative being
And those surrounding me are as well

Because I connect
With others through things
Opposite from the superficial

Ask me, “why creativity?”
And I’ll say,
Because it is me.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Doug McHargue's "Blackberry Nation" after Laura Crooks

Doug McHargue photographed at the July 13, 2019 tour of Alexander County Library and FOUND: The Art of Community exhibit curated by Miranda Burgin. The photograph that inspired her work was taken by library director, Laura Crooks.

by Doug McHargue
after One for Solitude by Laura Crooks

Blackberries in the foreground, they are wild,
ready to swallow the chair.
In the grocery, they lie fat and indolent,
anemic hothouse plastic.

At the river they grew all over
and I picked two gallons
in a morning, smaller but real
and wicked little tarts, lost.

Now my fog eyes think vines
are city skylines, blackberries
inching their way up concrete, steel,
crawling up from the river
where they were stepped on,
chainsawed, bulldozed,
a blackberry nation rising,
then fruit raining
into the river, Catawba running
with its secret pouring
into a front yard near you.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Ann Chandonnet's "Wet Clover" after Eric Schumacher

Artist Eric Schumacher joined the tour of FOUND - Art of Community at Alexander County Library on Saturday, July 13, 2019. Eric's photograph inspired one of Art of Poetry's first contributing poets, Ann Chandonnet who now lives in Missouri, to share this poem from afar.

by Ann Chandonnet
after Water Bubbles by Eric Schumacher

My Mom was born on a 13th in August.
She always considered it her lucky day,
no matter the month.
She enjoyed sitting under the maples 
shading the front lawn
looking for four-leaf clovers.
She had little patience with her five kids
but lots for clovers.

Farming is a hard life,
which did not agree with Mom
who preferred sun bathing
in skimpy halters
to weeding corn,
canning jars of staples
or slinging bales of hay.
So although she had bid
for this farm life,
she left, hovered
looked for four-leafed clovers elsewhere.
None of us accompanied her.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Beverly Finney's "Found" after Vickie Jo Franks

Beverly Finney photographed on tour at Alexander County Library, July 13, 2019. Her poem was inspired by a Vickie Jo Frank's collage. The exhibit FOUND - Art of Community, curated by Miranda Burgin, will be on display until August 2.   

by Beverly Finney
after A Pilgrim’s Song by Vickie Jo Franks

What of those who live found lives,
cobbled together from the scraps and refuse
discarded by those who have too much,
piecing a bare-knuckles tapestry of survival?
Intrepid scavengers with eyes that see
in a different light, creative imaginations
full of new visions for what’s tossed aside,
clever hands, forging hearts fashioning anew.
How rich are they in fierce attention
to the overlooked, in the satisfaction
of self-sufficiency, the prayer of gratitude,
the tiny fragments of beauty, hope and joy?

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Patricia Deaton's "First Things, First" after hannah grace

Art of Poetry Catawba Valley's Patricia Deaton emulates the painting by hannah grace that inspired her poem. Poets toured Alexander County Library's FOUND - Art of Community exhibit on Saturday, July 13, 2019. Curated by library board trustee chair, Miranda Burgin, the collection was procured from local and regional artists, photographers. The artworks and poetry will be on display until August 2.

by Patricia Deaton
after Not Your Babe by hannah grace

With a flash, that day comes back.

Eyelids lifted gently, one at a time 
by one small finger; a small face, close. 

Light seeps in-through a window 
full of sky so blue, you worry;
not about things that might happen, 
but things that might not.

Her first April Fools, brown eyes wide,
there is salt in the sugar bowl.
Spit-cereal with the first spoonful

then laughter fits; wonder at the kind of mind
that even came up with this. 

We ate sliced-off ends of the pan blanco,
bread carefully-made, though overworked 
the night before; her abuela’s recipe 
from a country where a little means a lot.

At the top of the school steps
butchered bread held upright, resolve slipping,
plastic wrap unfurls itself from the loaf
and flutters like the flag of a fallen land.

What valor to stand that first day
and wave the loaf, then hand it
to someone who swings open a door.

Betty O'Hearn's "Homes of Crayons" after Diane Podolsky

Art of Poetry Catawba Valley's Patricia Deaton reads the poem by Betty O'Hearn at the tour of Alexander County Library on July 1...