Poetry Friday – Summer Poem Swap & Villanelle Prompt

Clark’s Nutcracker, painting © 2021 Mary Iphigene Daradar, acrylic on canvas.

Happy Poetry Friday!

Today I’m happy to share my Gorgeous Summer Poetry Swap art and poem written and painted by Iphigene Daradar in the Philippines. I received my poetry swap from Iphigene last week via email, and serendipitously I sent a poem and art off to her today via email.

Iphigene looked around my posts and found I’m taken by nature and especially birds–and we both share this interest. She painted and wrote about the Clark’s Nutcracker bird, and while researching found out that this particular bird has the “longest memory among birds.” This poem is the third poem this summer for her in the swap that also involves her own discovery and learning, hence her title Learning to Fly, which I think her poem does remarkably well right off the page. I’ve enjoyed receiving these lovely treasures, and our email exchanges immensely, many thanks!

Clark’s Nutcracker, painting and poem © 2021 Mary Iphigene Daradar, acrylic on canvas.

Here’s a haiku inspired response to Iphigene’s Clark’s Nutcracker

clark’s nutcracker
collects knowledge for future

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Thanks again to Tabatha Yeatts for offering us all these rich Summer Poetry Swap exchanges! xo

Here’s my villanelle draft that the Poetry Sisters, gave us for July. Our prompt was to write a villanelle on dichotomy, or true opposites, incongruities, paradoxes, or contradictions. I think mine might have a touch of this in there. Thanks for inviting us Tanita S. Davis, Laura Purdie Salas, and all. Look for more villanelle poems tagged with #PoetryPals.


Trees rose and began to talk,
their rumbling roots filled our air
though some folks plug their ears and balk.

Children point and shout in shock,
and nature’s wisdom crept everywhere.
Trees rose and began to talk.

I won’t give up, Earth muttered taking stock.
Would naysayers ever turn toward repair?
Though some folks plug their ears and balk.

How‘ll we break this human gridlock?
Bring polar opposites together in prayer.
Trees rose and began to talk.

Rallying support for earth’s care
children of all ages joined Earth’s walk.
Though some folks plug their ears and balk.

Tick-tock struck earth’s clock…
tree roots declared, we’ll make naysayers aware!
Trees rose and began to talk,
though some folks plug their ears and balk.

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

And a little bird music to carry you off…

Rebecca Herzog is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog Sloth Reads, thanks for hosting Becky! Be sure to drop by her blog for your fill of poetry.

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
This entry was posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Haiku, Home, Nature, Painting, Poem, poetry, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Poetry Friday – Summer Poem Swap & Villanelle Prompt

  1. Denise Krebs says:

    Michelle, lovely collection here today for Poetry Friday. I love Iphigene’s nutcracker poem, especially: “take refuge / in the treasures / of the mundane”

    Your villanelle is a great poetic way to describe what is happening on the earth now. I hope they will keep talking more loudly until everyone listens. Powerful:
    “Trees rose and began to talk,
    though some folks plug their ears and balk.”

  2. Rebecca Herzog says:

    So many wonderful poems to share today. I didn’t know that the Clark’s Nutcracker had the longest memory. Iphigene’s poem is beautiful. And your villanelle is wonderful–such a difficult form to get right. Thank you for sharing!!

  3. Wow, what a beautiful gift from Iphigene! You know I love your villanelle with its climate emergency theme…and your repeated balk and plug line really does stubbornly echo the experience!

  4. tee+d says:

    Oh, wow – indeed, some would STILL plug their ears and balk even if the trees did stand up and say, “Um, about the planet, I need you to listen…” Irony works so well in a villanelle! Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Michelle, I love the idea of the trees talking. Will we humans ever stop and really listen? I love muttered, and shock, and many of your strong word choices!

  6. Mitchell Linda says:

    Oh, my goodness! What sweetness in Iphigene’s gift to you. The painting is beautiful. I love that you are painterly friends too. “Maybe this is how/we must be” is such a great turn in the poem. I now need to get to know a Clark’s Nutcracker!
    I agree with Larua. Talking trees gets my attention. I think they have so much to say…and you show that in your poem.

  7. margaretsmn says:

    A wonderful illustration from Iphigene. Both of your poems capture the personality of the nutcracker. Cool info, too. The villanelle challenge was a quite the challenge, wasn’t it? The form helps to express worldly woes, like Covid and climate change. Your poem speaks for the trees. Stand up and shout!

  8. maryleehahn says:

    Brilliant, Michelle! I love how you brought environmental issues to your villanelle. And what a beautiful gift from Iphigene!!

  9. Laura Shovan says:

    Hi, Michelle. I see the echoes between our two poetry friday posts this week! Iphigene’s lines “Unload the darkness, take refuge in the treasures of the mundane” could have been written about Loah Londonderry from The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe.

  10. Liz Garton Scanlon says:

    Oh, these are both terrific. And I have to say, the rising, talking trees is such a vivid and specific way to see what’s going on in our natural world. I LOVE it!

  11. Elisabeth says:

    So many wonderful poems here today! I loved Iphigene’s poem – there is so much nature can teach us about ourselves. I agree with the other comments – your villanelle is beautiful in word and form and strong in the message we all need to hear and heed.

  12. cvarsalona says:

    Michelle, Iphigene’s summer poem gift to you is just beautiful. Her last lines, “Unload the darkness, take refuge in the treasures of the mundane,” are words of wisdom that I shall ponder. Thanks for sharing this magnificent artwork and for also sharing your poem. Stanza 4 poses a strong question to all. Your environmental concern for nature is always right on target.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s