Poetry Friday, FREE–AN ECHO TO LANGSTON HUGHES–Golden Shovel


Sharing a WIP watercolor along with my golden shovel poem, FREE–AN ECHO TO LANGSTON HUGHES. The poem reflects on this past weeks hurricanes and again our times. I feel everyone ought  to be able to dream, although this simple act is often denied to many. My Poem is a golden shovel that I built from Langston Hughes poem, I DREAM A WORLD. Kay McGriff shared, this poem last week, and I was very taken by it, thanks Kay! 

I’ve been wanting to paint my nasturtiums and have put it off for lack of time, and too much work. I carved out a few hours yesterday to get going on them. They are kind of a magical plant and I think they offer opportunity–and freedom offers this too! They are at their grandest in the fall, when they’ve had a chance to fully grow, fill out in their magical roundness and offer many blooms. I’m offering hope–which is hard to grab on to when you’ve lost everything–to all those who have been affected by this last weeks horrible hurricanes and storms.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is being hosted by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty, thanks Michelle! Michelle’s featuring abecedarian poems this month that were inspired by her featured poet, Carole Boston Weatherford. Be sure to stop by Michelle’s blog, she’s offering up a hearty collection of poems.


When winds and rain have blown away, A
New day will open her eyes on our small World,
with pain and loss that you and I
can’t even begin to Dream.
But, let’s begin Where
Loss left off, where Black
is beautiful, without an Or,
Where White
unites whatever
your religion or Race
may be. YOU are unique, YOU
 are special! Be
bold, step forward, Will
this empowerment on yourself, Share
this gift to empower, and The
wheels of humanity will build Bounties
of community, Of
caring for all, The
downtrodden, the weak and the brazen of our small Earth.
We share our air, water, And
soil, each and Every
One of us–Animal, child, woman, and Man.
A life is full, a life is rich, when a life Is

© 2017 Michelle Kogan



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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17 Responses to Poetry Friday, FREE–AN ECHO TO LANGSTON HUGHES–Golden Shovel

  1. margaretsmn says:

    I love how this poem actually echoes Hughes’ words along with the message he must have intended. “without an or” jumps out at me, and I say Yes! That is what we need to become, all not one, all not or. Thanks for sharing. And your painting is beautiful!

  2. jama says:

    Beautiful poem and sentiment, Michelle. It’s nice to click on your post and see nasturtiums greeting me. Lovely!!

  3. ldk says:

    Both your painting and poem are absolutely lovely! You are very talented!

  4. I love what you’ve done with this Golden Shovel, Michelle, and how you use your poet/artist platform to express your feelings about current events… like you’ve done here and in your DACA-themed abecedarian. The nasturiums are lovely too!

  5. lindabaie says:

    I like the “Bounties of community,” Michelle, like the many colors of nasturtiums, all gathered together and “free.”

  6. I like that you widen the scope of those free to include more than just men. Great expansion on Hughes line.

  7. Your poem is a beautiful reflection on Hughes’ original poem. I’ve been living with that poem all week. I love this layered on top of it. I think you may have just inspired me to work on a peace poem for this week, also using Hughes’ poem as the base for a Golden Shovel poem. I’ve been wanting to try this form, and I think I’m ready.

  8. Michelle, what a stunning watercolor! I love the greens and violets together. And, what a great echo poem. I love what you’ve said by echoing Hughes. What a great idea. I must try this.
    This line….so beautiful
    But, let’s begin Where
    Loss left off,

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