Poetry Friday–Winter Poem Swap & #natember December Nature


Happy Poetry Friday!

I’m very happy this week to share Joyce Ray’s treasure-filled Winter Poem Swap. In our poems and gifts to each other, ours thoughts both seemed to draw from historical spiritual, and social justice callings.

1- poem swap gifts joyce ray 2019

The little poem books, Joyce mentioned, where “lying around for the taking” at the Edinburgh Poetry Library–which sounds like a place I’d like to visit… 
The Heartbeat of Takami, has quotes by Toshihiro Takami about reflections of ourselves, along with lovely watercolor art by Hisako Nojima. The beautiful dove ornament is called the “LI BIEN” Ornament, “Li Bien” in Chinese means “inside.” This ornament was painted by an artist via a small opening and painted on the inside with a miniature brush over two days. The happy little mouse–which you can bend into any position– comes from New Hampshire, I think she may prove to be a great little model…

and Joyce’s  poem inside…
HAPPY IS THE MOMENT,  calls out an answer to the present political turmoil I’ve been voicing in many of my poems, and specifically my poem, AMERICA EMERGE,  which she included in this beautiful poetry book.


Happy is the moment
When Love
     wrapped in a cloud of divine grace
     rains pearl upon the desert

When Peace
disguised as a dove
     flies through the cracks in hearts
     that would build walls

When Truth
     veiled by self-serving lies
     floods over parched and thirsty minds
     like rivers enriching their deltas

When Justice
     cloaked in liberty for all
     pours out freedom
     for LGBTQ persons and all of us to be who we are

When Mercy
     woven into reformed justice systems
     breaks the bonds of captives
     deserving of second chances

When Compassion
     knit into shawls of comfort
     welcomes immigrants and asylum seekers
     like monarchs bearing beauty across the desert

 Joyce Ray © 2019 all rights reserved.

Joyce’s poem couldn’t have come at a more apropos time with the debate over the impeachment hearing in the U.S. taking place. I loved both the sting and joy she brought into her poem–I won’t pick out a favorite stanza for I liked them all and read these dual feelings that she’s woven into each stanza.  I also like how the poem looks on the page and the rhythm of it without any punctuation. She closes with our/my dear monarchs. Thanks for this heartfelt lovely package Joy, and thanks also to Tabatha Yeatts for organizing the Winter Poem Swap!


Here are the haiku poems I’ve written this last week for Nature in December and that I’m tagging #natember:

planetary justice
full-moon gazing

sky-seas lapis lazuli
full-moon gazing

solace world-wide
full-moon gazing

dusted december’s cold cuts through down into your bones



birthday greetings
dear emily, through time and
snowflakes of love

starlight realigns antlers into magical possibilities…


Holiday Card at: Michelle Kogan Fine Art.

being tree waiting through winter working for change!

© 2019 Michelle Kogan



Liz Steinglass at her blog Elizabeth Steinglass Poetry for Children and their Grownups is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Liz! She’s written a poem about her favorite word.

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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13 Responses to Poetry Friday–Winter Poem Swap & #natember December Nature

  1. Linda Mitchell says:

    Good Morning, Michelle! What a rich post. The Poetry Swap just fills me with delight. I so enjoy seeing how one package can bring so much delight to each of us. Thank you for sharing Joyce’s poem. The repeating word of when with the big meaningful ideas such as truth and justice and mercy are effective starts for each stanza. And, thank you for your dear, haiku for Emily Dickinson. It’s sure to have reached her…wherever she is.

  2. Michelle, what a lovely poetry swap package you received. Thank you for sharing a bit of it with us. Your poems are lovely. Today, I’m very much feeling, “dusted december’s cold cuts through down into your bones.”

  3. Liz says:

    Oh my gosh, Michelle, thank you for this beautiful, bounteous post. I feel as you did receiving your winter poetry swap–thankful for this heartfelt lovely package of joy! I absolutely adore your protesting tree.

  4. lindabaie says:

    Yes, the Poetry Swap is a beautiful thing and Joyce has shown you some beauty in the way we all hope life will be, Michelle. I cling to that hope, wishing that things were calmer. Each part of Joyce’s gift must have brought big smiles to you. And, I’ve loved your own haiku this week. A favorite is that tree drawing. They are speaking to us! Have a lovely weekend!

  5. This whole post is of rains pearling upon the desert… Thank you! xo

  6. jama says:

    Thanks for sharing your poetry swap treasures. The book with both your poems is wonderful — a perfect pairing! Love the Emily birthday tribute too. 🙂

  7. janicescully says:

    Birthday greetings/ dear emily . . . through time/ and snowflakes of love. Lovely haiku and lovely picture.

  8. Joyce Ray says:

    Michelle, it makes my heart sing to know our Poetry Swap brought you joy. I’ll be sharing the lovely poem you crafted for me next week! Today, I am thankful you reminded me of Emily’s birthday and relish this haiku you shared:

    solace world-wide
    full-moon gazing

    It makes me remember that full-moon gazing is one part of Japanese culture. The repetitive end sounds in solace and gaze show craft, and I love the idea of “Imagine” haiku. World-wide solace is worth imagining!

  9. haitiruth says:

    What a wonderful poetry swap, and I love your haikus, too. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  10. Tabatha says:

    Joyce is a marvel-filled swapper! Layers of treats to explore.
    This imagery particularly struck me: “When Peace/disguised as a dove/flies through the cracks in hearts/that would build walls.”
    Enjoyed your haiku and your outspoken tree!

  11. Kay Mcgriff says:

    What a lovely poetry package filled with goodness. I have to agree that Joyce’s poem is perfect for these times–so much wrapped into each stanza. I enjoyed your imagine haiku.

  12. What a lovely poetry (care) package from Joyce. Such a fun way to celebrate friendship and our mutual love of poetry. Huzzah!

  13. maryleehahn says:

    Oh, how I DO love Joyce’s poem! Perfection. (I’ve been loving your haiku on Twitter!!)

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