Happy Poetry Friday!
I think everyone knows by now, one of my favorite poetic forms is the portrait poem. Maybe it’s because I studied dramatic writing as an undergrad, but I think there’s something magical about bringing a character to life in the space of a small poem.
My poem for this week was inspired by my recent trip to Israel with PJ Library and the Harold J. Grinspoon Foundation.
We spent the first few days traveling in the desert, including a strenuous hike, a visit to a Bedouin encampment, stargazing from the bottom of a crater, a visit to solemn Masada, and kayaking on the still blue water of the Dead Sea — over 1,300 feet below sea level.
From that vast landscape and all of its profound experiences, we moved on to Jerusalem.
Although I had visited Israel once before, I didn’t spend much time in Jerusalem on my last trip. I fell in love with this city. Modern, yes, but also ancient and undeniably spiritual.
One of the sites we visited was a dig below the city where an ancient road, dating to at least 2,000 year ago, is being excavated.
I think that’s why — when we finally arrived for our final two days of the trip in cosmopolitan Tel Aviv — the man in the green suit made such an impression on me and my traveling companions (all fellow children’s authors).
There was nothing of the desert and its silence or ability to make one feel small about this guy. None of Jerusalem’s inward focus. His polished look was the opposite of effortless. I think that’s what made him so noticeable — at least to us.
I jotted down a poetic sketch later that same night. Luckily, my friend Mark Shulman snapped a photo, which I’m posting here with Mark’s permission.
The Man in the Green Suit
By Laura Shovan
Smooth as sunset,
out for an easy
stroll. Who can take
their eyes off that
fresh haircut, sleek
Gucci bag, Blue
Tooth in his ear?
He’s the master
of the “I look
good” saunter. Sharp
shoes. Thin gold tie.
The sun hits his shades
and he turns
to see who’s watching.