#Poetry Friday–Exhibit and Milkweed Poem

1- Summer Milkweed 8–1-2019 copy

Summer Milkweed, © 2019 Michelle Kogan, oil on linen, 56 7/8 x 25 1/16 inches

Happy Poetry Friday!

I’m happy to share with you my painting and Summer Milkweed poem that will be included in the exhibit:

Plant Medicine: Multi-Speciies Wellness in a Global City 
Opening reception 
Thursday, August 8, 2019 at 5:30 pm
running through November 3, 2019
International Museum of Surgical Science 
1524 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL
Free and open to the public

How do migratory human and non-human beings learn to grow and flourish in a city of steel and glass? Through the lens of plants, this exhibition explores the connections between nature, health and growing roots. Follow the Evenbrite link to read more about the exhibit.

This painting is one of four large oil paintings I am creating, documenting milkweed throughout the seasons, and monarchs when they are there. When completed each painting will have a poem on the reverse side. Here’s the poem that accompanies this painting:


A spring sprout
transforms overnight–
Voila, Milkweed, you’re a full-fledged plant,
standing upright at 5 feet,
beaming before the sun–
Here I am, you seem to say…

Monarchs visit daily,
laying their eggs abundantly.
Nicely nibbled leaves appear up,
down, and around your stalk–
clueing caterpillars cycle has begun.

Mid July your flowers begin blooming,
releasing their irresistible nectar into the air.
Calling– Come pollinators…
Come monarchs, and feast on my flowers–
Come commas and sulphur whites,
rejoice in our pollen.
Come bees of all types–
Fly bees, bumble bees, ground bees, moth bees,  

and come milkweed beetles, 
come one and all– 
Pollinate our milkweed forest,  
spread the word throughout nature–  
We’re here, we’re ready.

Listen to the gentle rush of wind 
jostling our milkweed forest, 
listen to the buzz of bees  
moving amongst our flowers, 
listen for the soundless monarch 
calling for your help. 
Grow a small milkweed forest,  
start with one seed– 
Give it water,  
give it sun, 
give it care, love, and hope, 
it’ll grow and spread,
monarchs will come–  
Keep them coming,  

© 2019 Michelle Kogan

Heidi Mordhorst at her blog my juicy little universe is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, and boy does she have a rich line-up on her blog. First, she’s calling for our participation in the next Climate Strike on September 20th. And then she’s featuring a whole slew of wonderful poems that she introduced in 2009 and is reintroducing as “definito,” featuring the SUNDAY POETRY SWAGGERS, including Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core, Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone, Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise, and Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche. Heidi is also featuring a few Poetry Friday Poets who also participated in her 2009 posts on “definito” poems including, Mary Lee Hahn at A year of Reading, Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Children, and Diane Mayr at Random Noodling. Thanks for your fabulous post and for hosting Heidi!

Visit Renée LaTulippe’s site No Water River to find out more about what Poetry Friday is.


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
This entry was posted in Nature, Painting, Plein Air Art, Poem, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to #Poetry Friday–Exhibit and Milkweed Poem

  1. Wowie, Michelle–gorgeous painting, fascinating exhibit, and lush poem:
    “Voila, Milkweed”
    “rejoice in our pollen”
    “keep them coming
    Thanks for spreading the word and including mention of the Climate Strike in your post. I’ve realized that the nitty gritty science and the wonky stonking policy are the business of others, my allies, and that my job in this fight is communication and connection (and maybe a little inspiration).
    I appreciate the boost!

  2. mbhmaine says:

    Michelle, your painting is stunning! I wish I could see the final fascinating exhibit with all four of your paintings and poems. I do hope you share them here. In this poem, the repetition of “come” in your third stanza is so effective. Beautiful post!

  3. katswhiskers says:

    What a busy little cluster of milkweed. Looking forward to seeing more of your project, Michelle. What we call milkweed is different to yours – yet ours also attracts monarchs. It has finer leaves – and develops the puffy pods; also called wild cotton. It’s toxic to humans and animals – and quite invasive over here, where it is an introduced species.

  4. lindabaie says:

    I’m so happy you are sharing, Michelle, because I won’t get to see that exhibit. This one painting of four is simply fabulous. I love you’re accompanying each with a poem, and love that 3rd stanza of the “calling”. It is inspiring to think of all that will heed the call!

  5. Kay Mcgriff says:

    Beautiful! I haven’t found any monarchs lurking near my milkweed yet, but your poem gives me hope they will come if I keep nurturing them. I miss the pollinator garden I started at our old house. I was able to dig up a few plants–including a milkweed–to move with us, but the butterflies haven’t found them yet.

  6. maryleehahn says:

    I’ve got 8 monarch caterpillars inside in the nursery! So excited to help this species along with the milkweed in the garden and the nursery inside!

  7. Liz Garton Scanlon says:

    Voila, milkweed!! I love this — the art and the poem!

  8. Michelle Heidenrich Barnes says:

    Your painting is stunning, Michelle! I would love to see all 4 panels at some point. How cool that you are telling the story of each panel in a poem on the back, this one captured in the word “voila!”

  9. Stunning is the word that came to my mind to describe your painting, too, Michelle! And your poem is such a hopeful one, helping to spread the “care and love” our world desperately needs. Thank you for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s