#PoetryFriday–#InternationalWomen’sDay, #schoolstrike4climate

1-5 Monarchs and Milkweed WIP- oil- 3-7-2019 copy

5 Monarchs, Milkweed, and Bees, © 2019 Michelle Kogan, Detail, WIP, oil.

Happy Poetry Friday and International Women’s Day!

My post this week is in response to a poetry prompt from our Poetry Friday host, Catherine Wallian Flynn, at Reading to the Core.  Thanks for hosting Catherine!  She challenged us to write a poem about a woman for International’s Women’s Day. I wrote a poem as a response to another poem called, RISE, by two contemporary, indigenous, women, poets, and warriors, Kathy Jetnel-Kijiner, from “the Marshall Islands in Micronesia” and Aka Niviâna, from Greenland–they co-wrote RISE together and it focuses on global climate change and much more. Click here and you can learn more about these two fascinating women, and view their poem which was filmed on a melting glacier, in southern Greenland.


Two women
Two countries
Converge to create a path for
All earth’s protection
A path for all people’s dignities

Two women
Two poets
Kathy Jetnel-Kijiner
From the warm waters of the Marshall Islands,
Aka Niviâna
From the cold ice glaciers of Greenland
Converge to perform their soulful poem
On a melting glacier,

Two sisters
Two warriors
With indigenous connections to their land
With indigenous connections to their past
Sisters of “Oceans and Sand”
Sisters of “Shells and Rocks”
With strong Mother goddesses who’ve
Watched and guided your cultures–
Your voices are heard
Your voices are resonating

Two sisters
Two warriors
I call to you from sandy spring shores of Lake Michigan
Where water temps are rising too quickly for cold-water fish
From city summer backyards filling with milkweed to save monarch’s and bees
From fall’s colored kissed leaves where human and critter prepare for winter
Winters with temps plummeting as low as yours sister of snow and ice
Temps we know are derived from global Climate Change
I call to you from the winter white snow that finally blankets our city prairie,
That quiets our racial injustices, and momentarily quiets our hungry drive for power
I call to you with one voice that is backed by many
Your voices are heard
Your voices are resonating

Two women
Two poets
Became sisters, and call to the world to
To place the earth and human life
front and center above our material world,
above our greed, and above our differences.
To save our sinking Islands from
Our melting glaciers–
For Now
the Waters are Rising

2019 Michelle Kogan

I also want to bring up the heroic acts of the Swedish, student activist Greta Thunberg, now sixteen, who is actively working to stop global climate change, and involved in the following groups  #schoolstrike4climate  #climatestrike  #fridays4future. She stopped attending school and sat outside the “Riksdag every day during school hours with the sign Skolstrejk för klimatet (school strike for the Climate.)” She demanded that the government reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement, View more on Greta here.  Below is her eye-opening Ted x Talk. Thank you for leading us Greta Thunberg!

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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15 Responses to #PoetryFriday–#InternationalWomen’sDay, #schoolstrike4climate

  1. Your poem is a lovely tribute, and a fitting way to celebrate National Women’s Day.

  2. katswhiskers says:

    Your poem is like a work of art, Michelle. I love your use of repetition – and that ending was just perfect. So very well written! A powerful message.

  3. Michelle, I confess: I did not read this entire post because I was so excited to tell you that I LOVE THIS PIECE OF ART SO MUCH. Beautiful!!! Thank you. xo

  4. Tabatha says:

    RISE is very compelling — thanks for sharing it and for your impassioned response to it.

  5. Liz Steinglass says:

    For me this poem really gains momentum when you start to call them warriors and sisters and especially when you call to them.

  6. ldk says:

    Oh, your artwork is AMAZING! What a talent!

  7. “To place the earth and human life
    front and center above our material world,
    above our greed, and above our differences.”
    Thank you for this call to action. I love how you juxtapose and connect these two strong women! And your butterflies are stunning!

  8. maryleehahn says:

    Oh my goodness! There is so much in this post! I love your painting. You have brought to life my hope for my garden! The article about these two amazing indigenous women, their poem, and then…yours. WOW. You captured it all. Your passion is infectious. (If only we could infect those in power and the deniers…)

  9. jama says:

    Thank you for the beautiful painting and the impassioned poem, Michelle! Greta is wise beyond her years, amazing!

  10. mbhmaine says:

    I love your repetition of “I call to you…” That sense of summoning is so powerful, as is your poem and your art.

  11. laurashovan222 says:

    Thank you for the poem and the link to Greta’s TED Talk. Heidi, Tabatha, and I were talking about this yesterday. Interesting that young women are leading the way on climate change, which your poem points out so clearly, Michelle!

  12. laurashovan222 says:

    P.S. I love your jellyfish!

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