Poetry Friday–Heavy Heart

1- Pink Roses Foster Avenue Beach 8-9-2019

Pink Roses Foster Avenue Beach, © 2019 Michelle Kogan, WIP, watercolor and watercolor pencil.

My gosh what a week… My head has been in a whirl from the two mass shootings of last week in Ohio and Texas–My heart heavy, and frustration for change constant.

Then we all heard of the passing of Toni Morrison. 
And today I heard of the passing of Lee Bennett Hopkins–although I never personally met him, he felt like an old friend. I’ve been collecting his poetry books and anthologies  for years. 

So here it is Poetry Friday again…  I’m composing this post late, as I was at the
Plant Medicine: Multi-Species Wellness in a Global City exhibit opening tonight. I posted on this exhibit last week and included my painting  Summer Milkweed that is part of the exhibit– 

First I’m sharing with you a poem that I wrote in 2015 called Toady, for a challenge by Lee Bennett Hopkins, who at that time was the Spotlight on featured interview at Michelle Heidenrich Barnes blog Today’s Little Ditty.

Lee challenged us to write a ME poem, which asks us to recall “one simple moment” in our childhood. I loved the challenge, and my heart sang with his response to my poem. Sending you thanks again Lee,  xo.


sure wish
I left you
where you

But you fit
in my small,

you felt squishy,
and warm,
and wet,
all at

and your breath
inside my

my heart broke
when your
breath drifted

in your

but the
lump in my
felt like
© 2015 Michelle Kogan

I also wrote a poem reflecting on the mass shootings of last week, and the epidemic gun problem we have in the U.S.A. I didn’t know if I wanted to share it after hearing about Lee Bennett Hopkins passing. And then I remembered that Lee had been posting his outrage at political views and mishaps in leadership on FB for quite a while–and I thought he might appreciate it.


We’re riding on the wings of monarchs
teetering on the edge of an irreversible history… 
In a time of abundant knowledge and technological advances– 
In a time of misguided leadership and inhumane violence.

An eye for an eye won’t answer this epidemic gun addiction. 
Middle ground, emerge from the tsunami of waves flooding our U.S.A. 
Demand change for the sea of lives lost from guns–  
Demand change for decrying human dignity.

Keep ever vigilant and keep complaisance at bay– 
Reconnect with nature, reconnect with humanity, 
find an inner place to hear a different voice, 
and begin to mend our blood stained humanity.

© 2019 Michelle Kogan

Molly Hogan at her blog Nix the comfort zone is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup. She’s offering us a dreamy and beautiful poem about being Lost in the Milky Way, and a poem that inspired her title by the same name. Thanks for hosting Molly! She also has a poem by Lee Bennett Hopkins.

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
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14 Responses to Poetry Friday–Heavy Heart

  1. lindabaie says:

    I remember your ‘Toady’ from that challenge, Michelle, a memory that stings just as it did yesterday when I read of Lee gone. Such a terrible week it has been. Our demands feel as if they’re flung into the air only to disappear with no response. Thank you for that poem, too, keeping on, not giving up.

  2. Toady captures some of the grief we’re all feeling. It’s perfect for today. I wish Blood Stained Humanity wasn’t perfect for today, but sadly, it is. I pray positive change comes next November, and I hope his damage is limited in the meantime. There is so much wrong that needs to be righted, and I hope it doesn’t take a lifetime to accomplish. Thanks for sharing both, Michelle.

  3. cvarsalona says:

    What a strong ending to poem #2 and poem #1 is a delight. How wonderful that you received accolades for this piece of writing from the literary luminary Lee Bennett Hopkins, Michelle. I read that post and left a comment for Michelle H. Barnes.

  4. macrush53 says:

    Oh Toadie, I’m so sorry that happened. The mass shootings were on my mind as well as grieving for poets lost this week. Did you know we have had 12 mass shootings since August 1? Unbelievable.

  5. Michelle Heidenrich Barnes says:

    I can hardly believe that was four years ago, Michelle! It feels like yesterday. I also remember Lee’s comment so clearly and how happy I felt for you to receive it. 🙂 He will be sorely missed.

  6. maryleehahn says:

    You’ve captured it all here — Lee’s generosity in encouraging all poets, his political activism, and where we’re at in our world. Your first line is at once so hopeful (I have 8 monarch Js and one chrysalis on my counter right now!!) and yet so fragile.

  7. Kay Mcgriff says:

    It has been a difficult week. I am grateful for community and connections and poetry in the midst of it all.

  8. I love that Toady poem, Michelle. It puts me in mind of the Lilian Moore (I think?) poem about the narrator who brings home a rock from the river or beach and then discovers it’s dull and lifeless outside its natural habitat. Beautifully written.

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