In week 5, we used Marie’s daughter Deanna’s photograph to stir our muses to some surprising (or maybe not) results. The submissions were incredible. Unfortunately, we can only select two:

Marie’s choice:

This photo took us so many different places, just as I imagined it would — lovely to desolate, hopeful to bleak, and concrete to visionary. Thanks to all of you who sent me personal messages about the photo’s inspiration. I will pass every one of them along to Deanna.

This week, it was even more difficult than usual to pick one to highlight. I read and reread each poem many times before settling in on Michael Grove’s “Pink Petals.”

I see this poem very akin to the photo itself, in that the interpretation may vary with the eye of the beholder. For me, this is very much a love story, rich with passion, brokenness, vision, uncertainty, desperation, and hope.

Intertwined are beautifully poetic, emotion-laden phrases:

– “dried mud of broken dreams”

– “a firm grasp of persona and spirit and breath and life,
and a glimpse of a vision”

– “pealing and chipping layers of weather-beaten joy”

– “dried hope, damaged by the storms of the past,
and the forgotten rays of the sun”

Absolutely lovely, Mike.

PINK PETALS by Michael Grove

There I knelt
in the center of my frame
as you looked on from
a planer perspective.
But I could see only you
In the center of your frame.

Not all of you
is visible or evident.
A gentle part is hidden
by the dried mud
of broken dreams.

A gentle breeze
might whisk me
out of your frame
while the hidden parts of you
are trapped under the mud.

Yet, I have only
a firm grasp
of persona and spirit
and breath and life
and a glimpse of a vision.

The brilliance
of the blooms still glorified
in their respective frames
are so scattered and wedged
under and against
the sharp contrast
of the peeling and chipping layers
of weather beaten joy
and dried hope
by the storms of the past
and the forgotten rays
of the sun.

There will be
no wind to blow me
off course and
out of your frame.

Gentle raindrops
will fall and free you
from the trap
as we will then
drift away
from this barren ground

Walt’s selection:

This week, I was struck by Nancy Posey’s piece, simply entitled “House.”

I can imagine the flaky decay of the paint as the memories of the past amidst the present of the recently fallen petal of a young bloom. The connection is strong for me, reminding of  the disposal of the family home and the memories that flooded my heart and mind. Nancy’s expressive way has always told a wonderful tale for me, and “House” is no different.

HOUSE by Nancy Posey

Living away for all those years,
she didn’t find the time
during visits home
to see the house, now empty,
she once loved so well,
the front porch, wide as the house,
where she’d play, jumping off
the wall, like Mary Poppins,
harvesting abelia blooms
playing flower girl, long before
she even considered herself
a candidate for bride.

In her absence, she could pretend
the swing still hung
from the same rusty chains, its squeak
music once, evoking memories
of snuggling, half asleep
into the pillowy bosom
where her own mother
and grandmother had once napped.

When word came the house
was scheduled to come down,
making room for the new road,
she forced herself to go there,
to see the now-empty shell,
long void of life, still haunted
by friendly ghosts. And sure enough,
the sidewalk, once sprinkled
with tiny white flower bells,
now blanketed by the fragrant, dusty
petals of the Grandma Sally Rose.