Thursday, 9 July 2020

The Poetry Friday blogging community welcomes you to read original poems, book reviews, and favorite verses each week. Our July 10 host is Ruth at There Is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town, where you will find a garden full of poetry links.

It’s Poetry Friday.

I’ve been away from my desk for several weeks because of a death in our family. The global pandemic has affected how we grieve, because it affects how we gather … or don’t. It has been difficult to say goodbye without friends and family around.

Our family is finding solace in our new garden. We moved to this house in the fall, so beginning in early spring there have been backyard discoveries every week!

Though I live in Maryland and my summer poetry swap partner Margaret Simon lives in Louisiana, we share the joy of being outside and being surprised.

Margaret sent me a lovely hand-made book, with two original poems inside for inspiration.

Haiku by Margaret Simon

Garden Visitor
By Margaret Simon

Tiptoe turtle seeks
Shade from seering summer sun
Laura says, “Come in.”

Did Margaret know we have two resident box turtles living in our yard?

I met one of our Eastern Box Turtles walking down the path one morning.

Margaret’s second poem is the coolest! A zentangle black-out poem created on a  page from “A Legacy of Shadows” by David Lee.

Zentangle Black-out Poem by Margaret Simon. (Click to enlarge.)

A Summer Garden
By Margaret Simon

Here’s to
the place
that place
under the trees
under the shadow
where all the words
slide into quiet
that place
where those
know without remembering
no difference
none at all

And here is our beagle, Rudy, enjoying that between place under the trees, under the shadow.

Some friends have said they see a tree spirit watching over Rudy in this photo.

Margaret’s garden poems worked their magic! I took an old newspaper article about trees and climate change and used it to create my own black-out poem.

Source: “Trees pose a puzzle about climate change,” by Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun, 9/25/16. (Click to enlarge.)

Black-out Poem
By Laura Shovan

Climate change growing
Adapt to complex air
Threatened years
Trees decline
Forests fall

Special thanks to Tabatha Yeatts, who runs the poem swap, which is always full of surprises and connections.

17 responses to “Poetry Friday: Summer Garden Swap”

  1. Ruth says:

    So much beauty! Thank you!

  2. Linda Mitchell says:

    I’m glad to hear you are home. These are such strange times. And, those of us that hold extra emotion, well, we are full up these days. Please be gentle with yourself AND the turtles. We need working poets more than ever, these days. What beautiful lines Margaret sent you…it’s a great place to begin “gentle.”
    PS: love your turtle pics. Keep sharing!

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss and that it took place when it’s so hard to grieve together. I think your zentangle is impressive, even the artwork. When I tried, I created a mess! But your tree is pretty. And as for Ruddy, he seems like a friendly laid back sweet dog.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thank you, Janice. Yes — Margaret’s zentangle poem is a WOW. Rudy is the most easy-going beagle. He’s got a sweet nature.

  4. Sending you healing vibes, Laura! Thank you for sharing a bit of your and Margaret’s beautiful poetic world view. So cool you have box turtles living in your yard! I see the tree spirit in the pic with Rudy – I like to think we all have some spirit(s) watching over us. Hugs to you and yours. : )

  5. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, but glad to hear you have been finding some comfort and peace. And those turtles! I remember as a child visiting a lake where turtles would gather on logs in the middle of the lake and being so fascinated by these strange creatures that looked so unusual! These days I feel like they really have something to teach us about how to survive these unusual times, with that slow and steady pace of theirs.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thank you, Jane. You’re right — turtle pace, turtle’s ability to shelter, is a good model for us right now.

  6. Laura, I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Not being able to gather with loved ones to share comfort has to be especially difficult. Sending love and hugs to you and your family. xo

  7. Thanks for sharing my poems for you. The turtle image on the first page of your notebook was one I stole from your Instagram post and printed with my sprocket. I love seeing all the surprises you are finding in your new garden. So sorry for your loss. Prayers for peace.

  8. Lovely poetry swap creations from Margaret–what fun that Margaret wrote about a turtle and you have a couple box turtles sauntering around…
    Let’s save our forests from falling., and thanks for your call out to help save our trees who help us, environment1

  9. Mary Lee says:

    What perfect gifts!

    Thank you for sharing your garden with us. I love my tiny little backyard garden, but I love to dream about discovering paths, and having resident box turtles and tree spirits. 🙂

  10. Kathryn Apel says:

    Those poems were the perfect gift for you, Laura. I have had so much joy, discovering beauty in your garden alongside you, with your insta pics. I am so glad you had that space at this time. And I love how the poem about ‘that place’ so beautifully matches with your Rudy photo.

  11. jan says:

    Kismet, Laura. It’s clear from what you’ve shared that Margaret’s perfect blackout poems with art are so meant for you,. And yes, I see the treespirit watching over ol’ Rudy. I wonder if he felt it. Your tree newspaper piece transformed into art is frameable, like Margaret’s pieces. Such a soulful match.
    This prompted me to look up new-to-me- David Lee (such a varied life – an academic, pig farmer, only white member of a black sports team & more layers to his life story “`) Appreciations to you both.

  12. […] hand delivered to me by the new owner of our old place. In a condo complex, mail can get mixed up. Laura Shovan sent a much needed blessing that she wrote for her brother years […]

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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