Poetry Friday–RBG

Happy Poetry Friday!
(typed with a slight sigh, from this last week…)

What a week… This week for Poetry Friday there were two prompt suggestions. One came a while back from Tanita Davis one of the Poetry Sisters/Princesses. The prompt was to write a poem either using a hippo or “the word ‘ponderous’ in any poetic form.”
Well a long time ago I had an encounter with a wonderful hippo named Peepo in either Greece or Spain. I started drafting a poem on this delightfully ponderous creature and will sometime return to it. Thought with the news of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, I felt compelled to write a poem about this larger-than-life woman, who’s meant so much to me and so many others.

Our second prompt came from our Poetry Friday roundup host for this week Jone Rush MacCulloch–visit her at her new blog: Jone Rush MacCulloch. She’s asked us to write a poem that tells a story with mathematics or a poem honoring “a brave woman–” And hence my poem on RBG fits that well. Thanks for hosting Jone!


Though ponderous obstacles lined RBG’s journey–
Fighting for acts of justice captured and crystalized
her thoughts and direction, and guided her life’s work.

Inspired by her heroine Eleanor Roosevelt,
leading the newly formed 
“United Nations Commission on Human Rights.”
RBG, while in eighth grade, 
began scribing her scales of justice,
reaching for truths, as she wrote,
our world now has a “fifth great document,
the Charter of the United Nations,”
which asks all of us to maintain
“international peace and security,”
to practice tolerance, and to
suppress any acts of aggression
or other breaches of peace.”
We school children must take this lead in 
“the promotion of peace.
We must “live together 
with one another as good neighbors.”
For we now live in a world
capable of annihilating itself.    

RBG’s law school graduation
with honors,
left her unemployed
due to her
Jewish religion
Female gender, 
and motherhood.
She continued to persevere– 
She climbed higher
and higher, through
an apprenticeship,
through teaching positions
at Rutgers Law School, 
and Columbia Law School,
through litigating trials,
and her long awaited appointment as 
Federal Judge in 1980 by President Carter, and
Second woman appointed to the US Supreme Court,
in 1993, by President Clinton.
RBG continued her advocacy for 
Women’s rights, gender equality,
and leveling equality between
men and women
in the workplace.
Taking on stardom stature,
from her efforts, she worked
relentlessly until her death

Her life suspended by thread, 
ready to recoil at any moment–
She’s become
a heroine who
kept our hope going, 
our hope high, and
our hope renewed–
Let’s keep going

© 2020 Michelle Kogan

Quotes taken from: My Own Words Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with Mary Hartnett, and Wendy Williams, New York, Simon & Schuster.

Dusty Rose, © 2018, Michelle Kogan, pen and ink, and watercolor.

Roses for RBG, remember forever, xo

In case you missed, I had some good poetry news this week. My poem, MY POSTAL LADY was featured in the PRIME MOVERS Series by Silver Birch Press, you can find it here.

Visit Renée LaTulippe at 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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19 Responses to Poetry Friday–RBG

  1. lindabaie says:

    Well, I love each part, am so grateful for her & the girls & I read a picture book bio of her together this week. I want them to know how important her strength & persistence was in her life. We also read the latest Kamala Harris bio, too! And I love your painting & haiku with the dusty roses, Michelle. All that’s needed for a sweet goodbye. Thank you!

  2. Liz Steinglass says:

    Thank you for this remembrance and congratulations on your good news.

  3. cvarsalona says:

    Michelle, I like how you opened with the word, ponderous. RGB was a trailblazer for human rights. I love this call-to-action-section of your poem, “We school children must take this lead in
    “the promotion of peace.
    We must “live together
    with one another as good neighbors.”
    Last night I read your poem about your postal lady. Well done and congratulations on being featured.

  4. Tabatha says:

    Congrats on MY POSTAL LADY! Your Dusty Rose and poem are beautiful tributes, Michelle. RBG deserves all the accolades we can offer.

  5. jama says:

    Thanks for this wonderful poetic tribute to RBG! Beautiful words and perfect roses. And congrats on “My Postal Lady”!!

  6. Yes, Michelle: “Let’s keep going”! Beautiful tribute poem to RBG, a beautiful soul. Congrats on your poem publication! Wooty woot woot! I look forward to your poem about that hippo named Peepo someday. Won’t that be wonderful to be able to write something lighthearted because the world is not falling apart? Can’t wait… 🙂

  7. Michelle Heidenrich Barnes says:

    Hi Michelle! I knew I wouldn’t be the only one paying tribute to RBG today. She will be leaving a gaping hole in the world she left behind, but no one can say she didn’t try her hardest to stick around. Your poem says it all, and your dusty rose painting and haiku are beautiful.

  8. haitiruth says:

    Thanks for this! I learned new things about her. I think your word “relentlessly” is perfectly chosen. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  9. tee+d says:

    Oh, I LOVE that you took quotes from her!! That’s really wonderful. I invite you to view this exhibit with poems – the first one is an RBG poem that is really excellent. (https://ccaagallery.org/exhibitions/women-in-america-a-celebration/)

  10. maryleehahn says:

    I love your biographical poem about RBG, but “Dusty Rose” made tears spring into my eyes. There’s a time for both — learning and taking strength from an amazing life, and taking a moment to grieve our loss.

  11. Her life suspended by a thread…sigh…

    Thanks for coming yesterday, Michelle!

  12. Linda Mitchell says:

    Oh, do I love my visits to this blog. But today, I really think you used the word ponderous spectacularly in that first line. Wow! ER is one of my heroes as well. I love that her legacy led to RBG and that now it leads to you and me. Let’s keep going. Let’s let RBGs memory. Many congratulations on ‘My Postal Lady’ Hooray!

  13. macrush53 says:

    Ponderous and brave…and your poem captures her perfectly. Congrats on “My Postal Lady.”

  14. laurashovan222 says:

    Wonderful elegy for RBG, Michelle. I loved Debbie Levy’s graphic biography — on my list to reread now.

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