Poetry Friday–Groundhog & Paradise…


1-groundhog-movesomeplacewarmer-paradiceHappy Poetry Friday and Happy Groundhog Day!

The snow and cold is getting to be a bit much even for our friendly critter the groundhog. Last I heard he was ready to up and move his growing family to… somewhere in Paradise… I think I’ll follow him there, or wherever Birds of Paradise are congregating.


Above, Birds of Paradise, © 2019 Michelle Kogan, watercolor and watercolor pencil.


For Birds of Paradise, dancing on stems opens all possibilities–
for Bird’s possibilities, dancing on stems opens all of Paradise.

© 2019 Michelle Kogan

I was looking for another poem to share with you about paradise and I found this poem by Sam Hamill that sang true to me, I wish he was still with us, unfortunately he passed in 2018. Click on his name to read about him. This poem comes from his book, Habitation: Collected Poems, Sandpoint, Idaho: Lost Horse Press, 2014. In the many volumes of poetry he wrote, one is called “Almost Paradise: Selected Poems & Translations (Shambhala, 2005)” which I’m going to check out.


by Sam Hamill

What the mouth sings, the soul must learn to forgive.
A rat’s as moral as a monk in the eyes of the real world.
Still, the heart is a river
pouring from itself, a river that cannot be crossed.

It opens on a bay
and turns back upon itself as the tide comes in,
it carries the cry of the loon and the salts
of the unutterably human.

A distant eagle enters the mouth of a river
salmon no longer run and his wide wings glide
upstream until he disappears
into the nothing from which he came. 

Read the rest of his poem here. Listen to the poet read his poem here.


Tabatha Yeatts at her blog Tabatha Yeatts: The opposite of Indifference is our host this week for the Poetry Friday Roundup! She has a fantastic tale about a “Belfast’s Big Fish” and images on her post for January 31st. She may be offering some additional post for the Roundup that you would’t want to miss, so drop by her blog. Thanks for hosting Tabatha!



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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19 Responses to Poetry Friday–Groundhog & Paradise…

  1. katswhiskers says:

    I’m fairly certain that the bird of paradise poem you’ve shared is a skinny… and I’ve just had to go back and trawl through last week’s posts to see where I just saw it – and it was in Leigh Anne’s post; https://adayinthelifeof19b.blogspot.com/2019/01/time-poetryfriday.html. Did you see it? (I started on for #MoPoetry2019 this week – but didn’t get it finished.)

    Your bird of paradise is amazing! Exquisite!

  2. mbhmaine says:

    What a great skinny poem! I find these most challenging to write. I love the repetition of dream and your rearrangement of words in the final line. Your painting is glorious! Thanks also for sharing the beautiful poem by Sam Hamill. Stay warm!

  3. Donna Smith says:

    Birds of Paradise is like a runway model….gorgeous and skinny…lol!

  4. lindabaie says:

    Ah, “Dream me through winter” is the poem for February, all waiting for that first glimpse of spring I think. And the poem by Sam Hamill, intriguing to read, then read again, Michelle. I wonder at his words about the heart, and this: “unutterably human”. Thanks for a warming post.

  5. macrush53 says:

    Birds of Paradise are among my favorite flowers. We had huge bushes of them growing up. Are you selling this print?
    They do cause you to dream in winter.
    thank you for the fabulous birthday card on FB.

  6. jama says:

    Charming post from beginning to end, Michelle. I’m dreaming of Paradise just like your adorable groundhog. The bird of paradise painting is lovely too — reminds me of Hawai’i, where both my mother and grandmother had bird of paradise growing in their yards. And thanks for the intro to Sam Hamill’s poetry!

  7. Tabatha says:

    Poor wee groundhog! I can see why your thoughts turn to those lovely birds of paradise.
    I like Hamill’s “river that cannot be crossed” and “the salts/of the unutterably human.”

  8. maryleehahn says:

    Your skinny is fabulous! I tried one last week but couldn’t get it to work. At all. Yours matches the shape of the plant, even!

  9. andisibley says:

    Oh, I love those paintings! Definitely right on time for this weekend of cold and snow, and celebrating groundhogs! Also, thanks so much for introducing me to Skinny poems with your wonderful, hopeful poem!

  10. cvarsalona says:

    Just when the cold has gotten to me, I see your groundhog thinking about paradise (very cute, whimsical artwork) and your Birds of Paradise artwork and skinny bringing sunshine warmth and bliss. I never heard of Hamill before so that poem has me pondering before bedtime.

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