Poetry Friday & Important Voices

Springs Softness Poem and waterolor 5-17-2017

Spring’s Softness

Spring’s softness has settled in the city,
trees tenderness triumphs with new leaves.
Rivers of rivulets, feed meadows of
multi-colored crocuses that vanish–

Almost magically before our eyes.
Replenished with tulips, daffodils, and
lavender’s long-gone childhood memories,
bringing earth’s subtlety in our senses.

© 2017 Michelle Kogan

I wrote Spring’s Softness from a poem prompt by Rainer Maria Rilke. Heather Meloche  posted the poem along with selecting 10 words that we would incorporate into our new poem. The poem was posted in Laura Shovan’s continuing February Daily Poem Project.  

I’m sharing a portion of George Eliot’s poem More Roses. The poem is from a book I picked up last July at the Newberry Libraries summer book sale. Eliot wrote two books of poetry, and More Roses is from her poetry book, The Spanish Gypsy.  Her other poetry book is The Legend of the Jubal, and other poems. Here’s a link for a bit more bio on George Eliot


By George Eliot (aka or her real name Mary Ann Evans)

Queen, a branch of roses–
So sweet, you’ll love to smell them. “Twas the last.
I climbed the bank to get it before Tralla,
And slipped and scratched my arm. But I don’t
You love the roses–so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
Ad soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and yet waking, all at once!
Over the sea, Queen, where we soon shall go,
Will it rain roses?

I was hoping to write  a poem in memory of Javier Valdez, the internationally known Mexican journalist and writer who was so ruthlessly taken from all of us this past week. As this didn’t happen yet, I’m sharing a quote and link to a news source from this last week. Sending my thoughts out to his family, friends and all who cared about his work, and the importance of continuing to speak out.

Quote by Javier Valdez
Living in Sinaloa is a threat, and being a journalist is an additional threat. We learned how to live in times when bullets are flying around us. You have to know the rules – how the gangs or police or a local politician here or there will respond to a certain story – but those rules can change quickly. These are impossible conditions in which to practice journalism.

from: euronews

News article: Mexican Drug trade reporter Javier Valdez killedBBC News

Kiesha Shepard at Whispers from the Ridge is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks for hosting Kiesha! Be sure to drop by her blog for an interesting new book she just received, and  many more poems.

About Michelle Kogan Art, Illustration, & Writing

Michelle Kogan is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer, creating colorful allegorical figure, flora and fauna paintings and children's illustrations, which have a sensitivity to endangered species, and the environment. She is an art instructor at the Evanston Art Center and offers Plein Air Painting Workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Visit her online Etsy Shop at: http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com and her website: http://www.michellekogan.com
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22 Responses to Poetry Friday & Important Voices

  1. Irene Latham says:

    I love your spring softness, Michelle… how quickly it gives way to summer’s brashness… thank you! xo

  2. Alas I fear that spring’s softness could not survive winter’s cruelty this year, we’re still wearing our winter coats in mid-May!

    Journalists are among society’s most unsung heroes, risking their very lives to tell the stories that others would try to suppress. What a terrible loss.

  3. Monica says:

    You’ve captured the kaleidoscope-like aspect of spring in your poem. Very nice!

  4. lindabaie says:

    I hope these past few days that are “not” soft will be the end of winter. Your poem shows the fleeting early beauty, and we have had that, and other flowers are here, but also snow! My roses will soon be here, and we will then think it is raining roses! Your post fills us with beauty, Michelle, and then that last, about Valdez, a tragic loss I agree. I am grateful to those news people who risk all to tell us the truth. Thanks!

  5. All lovely in many ways, Michelle. As always, your artwork — in addition to your words — makes my heart sing.

  6. Your spring poem is such a breath of fresh air. I want to go out and breathe deeply among the lilacs. And I love the image of raining roses from the Eliot poem. Why can’t it rain roses one day?

  7. The Orange Menace may scream at his TV and make his staffers cry, but at least he isn’t having journalists murdered. Daunting to consider how perilous life can be. I’m going to remember spring in your poem, and fill my mind with roses raining. And perhaps think about writing about Javier Valdez, too. The more who shame the murderers, the better.

  8. Love the softness of your watercolor reflected in your poem… or is it the other way around? Anyway, it’s a great pairing, Michelle!

  9. Gorgeous. Such tenderness in the painting and poem.

  10. maryleehahn says:

    Yes! Each wave of spring blooms melts…vanishes…only to be replaced by another. I’ll never tire of it!

  11. What a gorgeous illustration…..and pairing to your poem. I like to think of spring softening the world with rains.

  12. Thanks for sharing all, Michelle – the fleeting fragrance and blooms of flowers offer consideration of how fleeting our lives are as well, especially in places where it’s precarious for those who speak out.

  13. Laura Shovan says:

    I knew I recognized those words! There’s so much beautiful alliteration in this poem, Michelle.

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