Poetry Friday–”MEMORY OF NOVEMBER’S PAST,” prompt…

Fall Leaves, © 2020 Michelle Kogan, Pen and ink and Dr. Martin’s Watercolors, now available as an archival print in my Etsy Shop, and soon as a bookmark.

Happy Poetry Friday!

I’m sharing a poem from a poem prompt by the Poetry Princesses, Poetry Sisters, Laura Purdie Salas, Tanita S. Davis, and all. This month we were asked to write a poem about hindsight, and about a memory of November’s past. My poem is from a fall bulb planting I did way back in 1994, where my husband rigged up some lights so I could get the bulbs into the ground. Many things happened that year, the major life changing event for me… I became pregnant that month with my son. I chose to write this poem as a pantoum, for I wanted to emphasize the circularity of life, and also tie it into today.

MEMORY OF NOVEMBER’S PAST

Remember your bulbs planted in November…
So long ago yet like yesterday–
Shift paths country, and fan that withering ember,
Somehow weave inclusiveness for all astray

So long ago yet like yesterday–
We rigged up lights to see through darkness…
Somehow weave inclusiveness for all astray
And embrace Individuals over starkness

We rigged up lights to see through darkness…
We waited, contemplated and hoped for change–
And Embrace individuals over starkness
Remember humanity’s still within range–


We waited, contemplated and hoped for change–
There’s still time to plant, come all human members,
Remember humanity’s still within range–
Remember your bulbs planted in November…

© 2020 Michelle Kogan

On Tuesday evening I had the good fortune of hearing and viewing the Academy of American Poets Gather in Poems. It included 16 poets reading favorite poet’s poems. It began and ended with US poet laureate Joy Harjo, it was wonderful, moving, and soul fulfilling. Here’s a link to the page announcing the event, I don’t know if it was recorded–and some picks…

Airea D. Matthews Reading FOR MY PEOPLE by Margaret Walker, I believe with her daughter.
Jeffrey Davis reading WADE IN THE WATER, by Tracy K. Smith.
Landan Osman reading DUSTING by Marilyn Nelson.
Jessica Jacobs reading ASTRONOMERS LOCATE A NEW PLANET, by Mathew Olzmann, and Nickole Brown reading “Rooms Remembered by Laure-Anne Bosselaar.
Yesenia Montilla reading ON GATHERING ARTISTS by Roberto Rios.
Joy Harjo reading MORE THAN SOMETHING ELSE by Rainy Dawn Ortiz, her daughter’s poem.

Wishing all Peace, Breaths, and Happiness as we move into the Holiday Season, and navigate the pandemic. And remember your mask will help all around you.

Carol at her blog Carol’s Corner is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday roundup, thanks Carol! She’s sharing a rich poetry anthology called WOKE: A YOUNG POET’S CALL TO JUSTICE, be sure to stop by.

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 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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12 Responses to Poetry Friday–”MEMORY OF NOVEMBER’S PAST,” prompt…

  1. Mitchell Linda says:

    I didn’t make it to ‘Gathering in Poems.’ I’m so glad you did. What an impressive array of poets. How sweet and wonderful your husband rigged lights so that you could plant. What a guy! The greens and oranges in this week’s painting are gorgeous…so November. I’m grateful for this poetry community…that we can send poems out to the universe, to each other even in and especially in this crazy time.

  2. Carol Wilcox says:

    I hoped to get to Gathering in Poems and even went so far as to sign up, but then just couldn’t pull it off. I don’t have any tulips in my yard, and every spring, I promise myself I will get it done the next fall. Your story poem makes me long for that little bit of certainty. This form fascinates me. It seems way hard to pull off!

  3. margaretsmn says:

    Pantoums seem to be popping up everywhere these days. Perhaps that’s a sign… I love the way the repeated lines circle around, but I’m mostly drawn to the selfless act of your husband. How special that this small event has stayed with you and marks an important time in your life.

  4. Irene Latham says:

    Peace, breath, and happiness, to you dear Michelle! This poem is so beautifully infused with hope… it circles and holds like one of those weighted blankets. Thank you! xo

  5. tee+d says:

    “Humanity is still within range.” The words encircle the reader, bringing light, growth, and change back to the logical conclusion of hope.

    Hope your holiday weekend continues restful!

  6. mbhmaine says:

    Michelle, a pantoum feels perfect for this poem, and I so admire that you seamlessly added rhyme. (I tried a pantoum this week, too, but opted not to rhyme.) I love the cyclical nature of this and the lovely story of you, your husband, and the tulip planting. Your “Fall Leaves” is stunning–oh, those autumnal colors!

  7. maryleehahn says:

    Oh, wow. That ending. So much truth.

  8. janicescully says:

    Love the colors in your painting, Michelle, and your pantoum with hope that “humanity’s still within range.”

  9. I love the line “humanity’s still within range.” Hope but also castigation–why aren’t we acting with humanity? With humanity in mind? At least that’s what I heard in there. Might be just me! Anyway, your poem made me think–thank you!

  10. cvarsalona says:

    Michelle, I admire your bright, beautiful watercolor. It is so realistic and reminds me of all the amazing awe walks I took this fall. Your pantoum is full of special memories and adds a thought for the present at the end, “Remember humanity’s still within range-.” This line is full of hope especially now with a new administration. I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday with family.

  11. macrush53 says:

    The watercolor is gorgeous. I love this reflection on planting bulbs in 1994. The past , the present and looking to the future, The bulb metaphor works really well.

  12. Appreciations for the beauty of your autumn artistry with leaves, dear Michelle.
    I love reading how “there’s still time to plant.” Your poem is a needed call for the continuation of Good Things for All, for All.
    And how uplifting to have attended the American Academy of Poets gathering.

    A good call-back to just recently, Nov. 19, when Carol V. & I & you & others gathered for the Poetry Foundation event.

    I’m perhaps considered late to Poetry Friday this time, but I am present with my thankfulness, at Bookseedstudio.
    https://bookseedstudio.wordpress.com/2020/11/23/thanksgiving-week-2020/

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