A place as seen by a woman in love
Fluid as mercury, yet hard as steel
Powerful as the birth of a new star deep in the heavens
Thunderous as a herd of stampeding horses.
Dazzling as it played dodge ball with rays of sun.
Mesmerizing, drawing her into its welcoming embrace.
Pure as liquid crystal, and cool as a mountain spring.
With each breath she leaned closer, wishing to fall into its wonder.
What had changed for her in the place so often visited?
Was this not simply a waterfall?
No, not this day.
For love had invaded her being – heart, mind and soul.
No longer could she view the world in concrete terms.
Life now reeled with poetry.
Metaphor flung itself over the precipice and dove into the gorge below.
Simile cascaded over the rocks and dripped from foliage along the water’s path.
Today’s challenge: write a poem that reproduces a phrase with the first words of each line. Perhaps you could write a poem in which the first words of each line, read together, reproduce a treasured line of poetry? You could even try using a newspaper headline or something from a magazine article.
I chose, Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary – Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven
Once a raven, black as coal
upon a moonlit eve,
a minute before
midnight came to my window ledge.
Dreary, listless days he’d passed
while mourning his lost mate.
I watched him grieve in solitude,
pondered his woeful state.
Weak, his will to live now spent
and naught that I could do, he closed his
weary eyes and whispered, never more, never more.
Wendie Donabie 2022
Photo credit: Tom Mossholder
Today’s challenge was to write a Nonet. A nonet is a nine-line poem. In the nonet form, each line contains specific, descending syllable counts. The first line contains nine syllables, the second line contains eight, the third line contains seven, and so on.
Day #9 Nonet
Sleep-filled eyes gaze at the blazing sun
flashing hot hues ‘tween earth and sky.
Brilliant colours transform,
to a muted rainbow,
as the golden orb
Wendie Donabie 2022
Photo credit: Nicole Avagliano
Today we were challenged to write a poem . . . in the form of a poetry prompt. If that sounds silly, well, maybe it is! But it’s not without precedent. The poet Mathias Svalina has been writing surrealist prompt-poems for quite a while, posting them to Instagram.
- Two hikers seek shelter from a storm
- Find a deserted house in the desert
- Inside there is only an out-of-place Chinese Cabinet with a key in the lock
- Curiosity drives them to open it
- A strangely clad man exits the cabinet
- He speaks in a language they don’t understand
- The storm rages outside
- Now write a poem by choosing 10 words from these lines, adding your favourite colour, lucky number, the names of your father and mother, an exotic cocktail, and a random item from today’s news.
A Glosa to Robert Frost’s STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING
A Glosa or Glose is literally a poem that glosses, or explains, or in some way responds to another poem. The idea is to take a quatrain from a poem that you like, and then write a four-stanza poem that explains or responds to each line of the quatrain, with each of the quatrain’s four lines in turn forming the last line of each stanza.
From the first stanza of Frost’s poem, here is
Homage to Frost: A Snowy Evening
I’m headed out into the snow
A moonless night, as home I go.
Firs and pines all laden white;
whose woods these are, I think I know.
I muse this land belongs to Joe –
a man I’ve never cared to know.
He’s never seen from year to year.
His house is in the village though.
Alone at night, I have no fear
that he might suddenly appear.
He’ll be abed in his home now
He will not see me stopping here.
I’ll linger midst what trees here grow,
as feathery flakes blow to and fro.
He’ll never know I paused tonight
to watch his woods fill up with snow.
In Pursuit of Weird Words
I spent far too long
searching for words,
ones weird or slightly off.
Wabbit I was
by the end of it all
I’d even developed a cough
The words acted as
my sneezes heard near and far.
I cannot go on
This must come to an end
This exercise, so bizarre.
This silly verse was written in response to today’s prompt from NaPoWrMo 2022.
Wabbit – Scottish for exhausted or slightly unwell
Stenutator – something that causes sneezing
NaPoWrMo2022 Day #1
Inspired by this quote by John Muir:
“I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!”
Tall and silent, towering over me
branches spread wide
with your forest companion’s
like lovers holding hands.
Your roots journey out
beyond your canopy,
cross my path,
then dive beneath the surface
meeting with others traveling there.
Here in nature’s cathedral
you live together in harmony,
all species fulfilling their calling
without our interference.
Painting: Contentment, Chinese Ink on watercolour paper, 11 x14 inches, Framed. Copyright Wendie Donabie
People of the Sunflower (Acrylic on Canvas, 16 x 20 inches, unframed)
Recently, my friend and fellow artist, Janice Feist, created a powerful painting imaging the vicious attack on Ukraine and auctioned it to raise money to support the Ukrainian people.
Inspired by her, my painting, People of the Sunflower, depicts fields of sunflowers in the Ukraine stretching to a horizon darkened by the invasion of Russian troops. The colours also stand for the national flag, the wide blue skies of the nation and the golden fields of wheat. However, for the painting, the yellow also stands for the sunflower (their National flower) and the brave people themselves holding firm to protect their homeland. At the treeline, around the midline of the painting, I painted a thin red area marking the Russian troops trying to crush the Ukrainian resistance.
At this time of darkness and loss for the people of Ukraine, I wanted to create an image of light and hope. I auctioned this painting on social media to the highest bid with the funds raised going to the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal. Bidding closed on Tuesday, March 15 at 12:00 noon EDT with PEOPLE OF THE SUNFLOWER going to the highest bid of $700 Cdn .
People of the Sunflower (Populus Helianthus)
Brave faces turn to the sun
stand strong, unmoved
Seeds of loyalty and pride
planted in their hearts
draw them together
Roots hold firm
in rich, fertile soil
defying all adversaries
This is the soul of Ukraine
This is the power of its people
This is their fight for freedom
~ Wendie Donabie 2022
2021 – Wake Up Call
It’s been a year.
Just that . . . a year.
When I’m asked how I’m doing,
I’ve replied, ‘okay’.
But why? Why just okay?
What have I to complain about?
I’ve stayed healthy, and all my basic needs met.
No disasters have befallen me personally.
Yes, a pandemic shut down the world
restricted our activities and freedom
kept us from living normal lives
and tragically, millions have died.
And we’ve zoomed and zoomed and zoomed
until we’re zoomed out
with short windows of opportunity opening, into our old lives,
only to be slammed shut once again.
While many I know used this time
to be productive and share their skills with the world,
I’ve floundered in a muddy puddle of my own making
with little to show for my iota of investment.
However, today I’ve been wondering.
Maybe I’ve looked at 2021 the wrong way.
Maybe my attitude has clouded my senses,
Maybe some good things happened.
In the last 365 days,
I’ve shared laughter and tears with family and friends,
and kept in touch and supported with my creative community.
I’ve traveled within Ontario,
to Quebec and the Eastern Provinces.
I’ve enjoyed our abundant garden in the warmer months,
grown healthy vegetables and glorious flowers.
I’ve created new recipes and enjoyed scrumptious home-cooked meals
and some tantalizing ones in restaurants when restrictions allowed.
I’ve filled and refilled our bird feeders
and for hours watched a variety of feathered visitors.
I’ve fed sweet apples to the white-tail deer
who’ve graced us with their presence.
I’ve only completed a few paintings, but I like them.
I’ve written over 40 poems, some of which are keepers.
I’ve read a pile of wonderful books that took me places I’ve never been
and introduced me to characters I would not otherwise have met.
I’ve opened my eyes to the rising sun
streaming its brilliant beams across my bed,
basked in the rich jewelled tones of summer sunsets
gazed up at night skies filled with endless points of diamond light.
I’ve been loved by many and have loved many,
and been blessed by a partner in the autumn of my life,
who daily demonstrates his love and commitment
with affectionate words and in thoughtful actions.
And, I’ve had time to think about what’s most important to me,
to take a serious look at the time I have left,
to consider how I’ll spend those years ahead,
to determine if there’s a legacy I can leave behind.
Wow . . . 2021 was more than just a year –
it was actually amazing – rich in ways I’ve taken for granted.
While others in the world suffered tragedies and crises
I can’t even imagine enduring, I’ve been more than okay.
NOTE: I am truly grateful for those moments when I’ve come upon with a scene like the one I’ve painted here. While on a short walk in an Ottawa Park, we passed by a tree with this beautiful mushroom growing out of a broken limb. It stopped me in my tracks.
This is my wake-up call of gratitude.
© Wendie Donabie 2022
Apparently that’s the term for what so many of us have been experiencing over the last 16 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Foggy brain, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, lethargy. In a New York Times article, Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at Wharton, the author of “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know” and the host of the TED podcast WorkLife, says, “Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.”
That’s certainly been me throughout this time. I would have thought with so many hours, days and months at my disposal, I would have written and painted up a storm . . . but no, I have produced very little. Only now with summer upon us I’m feeling inspired again.
On June 26, I took part in my second year of a 12-hour Poetry Writing Half Marathon. If you love poetry, consider signing on for this annual event. It’s free to participate, you receive feedback from other writers and get to submit two poems (one of which may be chosen) for the annual printed anthology. Last year, I went in without a proper focus and many hours I scrambled to come up with an idea, occasionally relying on one of the hourly prompts. This time, I used 12 of my paintings as prompts. The results in many cases surprised and delighted me. I might have begun with an idea in mind, but the poems often took on lives of their own. Here is one example entitled, Welcoming Woods based on my painting of the same name, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 30 inches, copyright Wendie Donabie.
The forest beckons me today
to come and wander and weave
my way through paths of sun-speckled, twisted roots
and sheltering boughs.
A raven’s shrill call invites me
deeper into his
wary of my presence
hoots and twitters
coos and shrieks –
Are you friend or foe?
I settle on the stump
of an ancient oak
its rings of life still solid, strong.
I close my eyes
Whispering boughs rustle overhead
A gentle breeze kisses my cheek
The scent of rich moist earth
and fresh pine fills my senses
My heart rate slows
to the forest’s rhythm
I am one with the life around me.
You can check out all the poets and poems on THE POETRY MARATHON site. Let me know if you’re joining us next year. You can choose to do the half (12 poems in 12 hours) or full marathon (24 poems in 24 hours). It’s a stimulating and creative experience and has lifted me out of my state of languishing!
Next I’ll return to the easel to finish two projects on the go with many more on my To Do List!
If you are visiting in Muskoka over the next few months, we would love to see you. Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery is now open on weekends from 10 am to 4 pm. We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors again and showing off the new work by our artists.
Take care and continue to stay safe!