Heather Heyer Righteous Actions! & Edna St. Vincent Millay

It’s been quite a harried week in the U.S.of A. and around our small world. The events of Charlottesville haven’t left my mind–I’ve taken to my words and drawing to express my anguish at this atrocity, and my need for continued action to somehow right our path in this turmoil. But the anger is deep and righting these wrongs won’t happen overnight. This week this is my small contribution towards getting a word out for justice and against racism. I’m borrowing Poetry Friday for my bully pulpit, thanks for your ear.



Heavy hearts fill the world with your loss, but
Each Just choice you chose will multiply:
Always caring for others,
Taking action when faced with danger,
Holding high principles that benefit all,
Engage individuals holding contrasting views–
Righteous causes called you

Heather Heyer, we’ll hold your values high, and follow your
Example of choosing compassion over revenge,
Your refusing to accept racism, in
Every ugly mask it parades in, and we’ll forever favor your

©2017 Michelle Kogan

A Poem also seeking Freedom and Justice by Edna St. Vincent Millay. I picked up this copy of There Are No Islands, Any More, last year while at the Newberry Library’s book sale. Read the rest of her poem here- The New York Times




I think more poetry is in order this week, so be sure to stop by Kay McGriff’s blog A Journey through the Pages, for the Poetry Friday Roundup, where she’s also focused on the tragedy in Charlottesville. Thanks for hosting this week Kay! She has also offered us: A Five-Step Toolkit for Dealing with White Supremacists in the Age of Trump. 





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 School of the Art Institute of Chicago and 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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27 Responses to Heather Heyer Righteous Actions! & Edna St. Vincent Millay

  1. Bravo, Michelle….for the art and the poetry and the connection to Edna St.Vincent Millay. I love it…despite being stressed out over how we are living in a world that has so much wrong with it. Keep shining your light. I love the lines, “Your refusing to accept racism, in
    Every ugly mask it parades in,” …. against “matters from without intrude”.

  2. What a moving tribute to Heather Heyer. Her mother was right when she said that even though the Nazis and white supremacists tried to silence her with their violence, her death magnified her voice. And that Millay poem. She could have written it today–so apt. And thanks for sharing the toolkit! I hope it spreads far and wide. I believe many people want to speak out but don’t always know how.

  3. margaretsmn says:

    Your heart is showing. This drawing and poem honors Heather like no one else can. Thanks.

  4. Beautiful, Michelle. And yes, more poetry is definitely in order this week. Amazing how it has the power to console, fire up, challenge, calm, and a whole range of other magical powers.

  5. Ah Millay, what a biting wit she had! I remember being shocked as a history student to see the ways in which time seemed to go less in a straight line, but all in a tangle, as events seemed to repeat themselves again and again!

    Heather was a year younger than me, which makes her death seem all that more shocking to me – she was one of my peers, in this modern age, killed for standing up against hate. Its like a scene from the 1960s, all over again, all these years later! Hopefully the knowledge that she died a hero will give her family some small sliver of comfort.

  6. Thanks for using your bully pulpit, Michelle–your words and art help! Love the Edna St. Vincent Millay one too–we cannot be islands.

  7. Thanks for this rich post of art, tribute, and poetry. What a fabulous poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay. It is so appropriate for our times, especially that recurring line “there are no islands anymore.” If not in 1940, how much more not now, with the internet breaking down practically all borders.

  8. haitiruth says:

    Such a sad week. Thank you. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  9. maryleehahn says:

    Thanks to all that is Good for Poetry! It will keep us from becoming islands. Your poem for Heather is lovely. That seems shallow, so LOVEly. We will remember her and all she stood and fought and died for.

    And this bit from ESt.VM:

    “Oh, God, let not the lovely brow
    Of Freedom in the trampled mud
    Grow cold! Have we no brains, no blood,
    No enterprise-no any thing
    Of which we proudly talk and sing,
    Which we like men can bring to bear
    For Freedom, and against Despair?”

  10. Beautiful tribute, Michelle. Thank you for sharing. (& thanks in advance for a certain package waiting for me to open at home! :0) )

  11. “Each just choice you choose will multiply.” Appreciations for your portrait, the name poem & these wonderful worlds Michelle. Potent.

  12. cvarsalona says:

    Michelle, the pulpit needs more action so it must feel good to have spoken out. “Compassion over revenge” – YES. I also was struck by the enormity of this thought: her death magnified her voice. There is sadness in life these days and you did a marvelous job of trying to let your artist hand and your own voice magnify Heather’s.

  13. Edna is so right to have picked up on that Island reference. The president’s supporters and detractors are connected to each other. We are all in the soup together. Great poem honoring Heather Heyer.

  14. Frank Hudson says:

    Reading about Millay this week, and this quote kept popping up about her writings in the lead up to WWII “Millay has caught more flak from the literary critics for supporting democracy than Ezra Pound did for championing fascism.”

    Pound’s better than his politics, and there are other reasons for Millay falling out of fashion with the 20th Century critics, but there’s a lot to admire in her now as there was then.

    Regarding Heyer and Charlottesville, with my band, we tweaked a version of Bob Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming” the next time we got to play:

    There was this woman down in Virginia
    She was a backwoods girl, but she sure was realistic,
    She said, “without a doubt, have to quit your mess and straighten out,
    You could die down here, be just another accident statistic.”
    There’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend.

    That man’s ego is inflated, his laws are outdated, they don’t apply no more,
    You can’t rely no more to be standin’ around waitin’
    In the home of the brave, Jefferson turnin’ over in his grave,
    Fools glorifying themselves, trying to manipulate Satan
    And there’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend.

    Didn’t have to change it much to comment on Charlottesville…

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