Poetry Friday–Spring & Actions for Hate Crimes

Spring Crocus, Detail, wip, Michelle Kogan, © 2021, watercolor on Sekishu Japanese paper.

Happy Poetry Friday and Welcome SPRING!

Trying to welcome Spring, though Spring has decided to temporarily take leave, I hear she may return next week. Anyway, here’s a poem for Spring Crocus’ and a WIP watercolor with bits of white to help as it’s on Japanese Sekishu paper, and although I’ve painted with watercolor for years, painting on this paper is a new journey for me.

SPRING’S CROCUS

Crocus cups stretched toward sun
and flung their petals outward—
They couldn’t resist mid March’s 
teasing 60 degree temps.
One, two, three days, and then
they shut–tight as a drum.
They’re holding steady, holding tight
through blizzardy snow,
and cold driving rain, 
waiting, waiting, and 
waiting…

But I’ll remember— 
Your brilliant hues of 
crimsons and lavenders,
your sun-like central 
amber-yellow floweret
fanning up towards sun,
as if part of an Egyptian
ceremony for sun god Ra,
while your attending stamen
stand at attention beside you. 
Your gently scalloped petals,
reminding me of sandbar banks.
Your outlined lacey edges 
extending tenderness to all.
Your etched needle-eye-thin curving lines
perhaps mother nature’s signature.
Your sister shadows playfully
mingling between each other. 
Your terra verte pin-stripped white stems
flying this way and that, as uninhibited as a child.
Your strong, yet elegant stalks
occasionally leaning into another 
as if to say, come closer–
it’s been such a long, long year
since we last embraced…
Your paper-like, lemon-yellow-white wrapper
each holding its own unique shape,
sloughing ever so slightly as 
now its completed protecting
it’s flourishing flower.

If only one or two more breaths
could breathe your natural beauty,
perhaps one or two could 
sleep more soundly or
breathe more fully or
even consider another
other than oneself…

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

I have also been thinking about the recent attack and hate crimes in Atlanta Georgia, and wrote this golden shovel poem from an article I read about it in the New York Times.

ACTIONS AGAINST HATE CRIMES

As Covid continues up and down, this
scourge of slaying Asian Americans is 
another call for Americans to reflect and not 
just carry on, to take action and not just
retreat within ourselves. Efforts for an
all world recovery become thwarted when Asian
Americans are attacked with biased hate crimes by American
citizens. This problem needs action now, “this is” our “American Problem.”

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

The striking line for this golden shovel poem comes from The New York Times article:

The Growing Power of Asian-Americans in Georgia Now Comes With Fear.
Here’s the line: This is not just an Asian American Problem.


Linda Baie, friend, and wielding wordsmith poet, is our generous host for this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog Teacher Dance, thanks for hosting Linda! Linda is sharing a dress rehearsal for Spring, and also a poem on time. Be sure to drop by her blog for many more poetry offerings.

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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17 Responses to Poetry Friday–Spring & Actions for Hate Crimes

  1. Linda Mitchell says:

    Oh, those pretty, pretty crocus. They really are tellers of season change, aren’t they? I love how you fell spellbound for a bit with them. I agree, America has a problem with “othering” many groups. It’s time for that to be done. I join you in that sentiment.

  2. bmagee10 says:

    I love your crocus art and poem, Michelle, especially the line, “Your outlined lacey edges
    extending tenderness to all”. Your “Actions…” poem is one of the many ways to extend tenderness to all – “this problem needs action now”. Yes!

  3. Tim Gels says:

    Michelle, your “Spring’s Crocus” is beautiful (the poem, as well as the watercolor, now that I think of it). As I read it, it was clear it was written by someone who has taken the time to actually look–really look–at the flowers. For all that, though, your words describing their posture, “it’s been such a long, long year / since we last embraced…” caused my eyes to water just a bit; I’m apparently allergic to crocus…that must be it.”

    Thank you for that poem, and for your golden shovel as well. The beauty and delicacy of a spring flower, and the ugly side of humanity. We live with them both.

  4. lindabaie says:

    The painting seems to have a mellow feel with that paper, Michelle. It’s beautiful! Your poem of praise shows the artist’s detail I might never have noticed: “as if to say, come closer–
    it’s been such a long, long year/since we last embraced…”. Yes, the heartbreak this week, another, is one we must not forget & simply carry on. We must remember & demand action. Thanks for the heartfelt poem.

  5. janicescully says:

    Your crocus poem is definitely the work of a painter, it seems to me. Your painting of them is so amazing, the colors so completely right. I agree, action needs to be taken and our leaders have to lead on this white supremacy problem.

  6. jama says:

    Love your crocus painting!! I’m sure crocuses of the world are sighing with contentment to receive such praise and appreciation in your lovely poem. Spring is the fickle season; flowers are patient, though, waiting for their turn to wow us with their beauty. And thanks for the golden shovel. Some elected officials are pitiful in their denial of white supremacy hate crimes.

  7. Beautiful, Michelle – and I echo the thought that reading your poem, I could tell you had drawn/painted these lovely flowers – truly LOOKED at them, unhurried. Thanks for sharing that as much as anything. And thank you for standing up FOR all Americans and AGAINST hate.

  8. haitiruth says:

    What a wonderful crocus poem – I think it might be my favorite of everything I’ve read of yours. And the painting goes perfectly with it. Your golden shovel is timely, too. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  9. macrush53 says:

    I love your crocus watercolors. I think the Golden Shovel deserves a wider audience.
    “Efforts for an
    all world recovery become thwarted when Asian
    Americans are attacked.”

    Beautiful.

  10. maryleehahn says:

    Oh, your crocuses! I will save you poem for the long time between bloomings so I can remember every detail of these gorgeous harbingers.

    And oh, your heart rending golden shovel. You have captured my mindset in this post — joy and escape into nature and despair over the direction our country seems to be sliding.

  11. Kay Mcgriff says:

    I’m sharing your celebration of crocuses this week. I love the exuberance of your poem for these tiny flowers. And yes, it is long past time for us to face up to our American problem of violence and racism.

  12. So much heart and compassion in your golden shovel, Michelle. And “Your gently scalloped petals,
    reminding me of sandbar banks.” So wonderful…

  13. Mary E. Cronin says:

    Michelle, I love your powerful poem about the wave of violence we are living through. I have yet to try a golden shovel poem– you are inspiring me!

  14. Michelle! So much goodness among the grief. Your crocus poem is one of your best ever, to my mind. I love
    “Your outlined lacey edges
    extending tenderness to all”
    Onward to spring and action!

  15. What gorgeous crocuses. Love the lacey edges of your poem. 🙂

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