On Sunday, March 3, the Guilford Art Center hosted the Guilford Poets Guild for a reading of poems inspired by the 2019 Faculty Exhibit. Here is a sampling of poems and images.
The Mettle of Petals
First Impression, Julia Rogoff
We look upon flowers as beautiful things,
The prom corsage, the wedding bouquet,
One dozen red blossoms on Valentine’s Day;
And even when someone passes away,
As a sign of love, respect, and honor,
A stately and somber floral display.
Red, white, and yellow are painted the flowers;
Blue, pink, and purple to pass by the hours.
Lily and lilac, gardenia and rose,
Honeysuckle and hyacinth, are two more I suppose;
Caressing the air, so fragrant and sweet,
Elixir of love, perfume for the nose.
And what of these flowers that delight us for hours,
Showering us over with sight and with scent;
What is their reason, their purpose for being,
With petals so wondrous and magnificent.
The flowers bloom only to pass on their species,
Not for the pleasure of what he or what she sees.
Centering, Marcy LaBella
The girl with the golden hair
Stares pensively ahead,
With eyes that could penetrate
The deepest blue ocean;
Hands, gentle and expressive,
Lie tender and relaxed,
Red lips, mysterious and beguiling,
Not quite frowning, not quite smiling.
I dare not disturb
Your quiet contemplation;
You look too wrapped up in thoughts
Profound, distant and deep,
Which drift like tumbleweed,
Or milkweed tufts upon the wind.
Are you glancing at your lover’s eyes
In the eternal longing for human embrace,
Your golden hair glistening,
As radiant as summer’s sultry sun,
Your face so soft, so warm, kind and strong.
I hope you have not had much pain,
Nor loneliness, nor sorrow,
Nor feel as blue
As the flowers that surround you,
New worlds await tomorrow.
Say Goodnight, Gracie
Say Goodnight, Gracie, Dolph LeMoult
No, no…not Gracie
radiant star of the silver screen
who enchanted Pepe LeMoko
and beguiled Samson out of his locks.
Not only the most beautiful,
a scientific genius as well.
Her invention could have
helped us win World War II
Yellow Lily, Christa Lorusso
Let’s start with history
Gaul is divided into three parts
And so is this piece of art
Base of stone
Stem of copper
Flower of glass.
The stone, itself a map of history,
Came from maybe Manitoba or even Hartford
Somewhere north of here,
Scoured, shoved, dragged forward by a growing a sheet
Abraded, smoothed cut down to size
Ground down, made round
And finally found, millennium later
On the northern shore of Long Island Sound.
This copper stem
Is of a later time
Not the Ice or Stone Ages
But the Bronze Age, ushered in with
Copper mixed with tin.
And here we have an even later time
A flower, a lily, made of glass.
Glass from the very sand where the stone base lay
Melted sand turn to magic, glass.
A modern day miracle, millennia in the making.
For Want of a Bowl Garden
Bowl Garden, Linda Edwards
Yes. This is what I need.
A garden of bowls!
Small enough just
to hold the pieces of stories
I hunger to tell you.
The rhythms and rhymes,
etched in fine detail,
their mark-made patterns
like notes to self:
the whats to remember,
the whos and wheres
to scoop from delicate vessels.
These patinaed memories,
complete and incomplete —
holy, one might say —
swaying like blossoms,
await the bee and me
to drink their sweet nectar,
propagate prose or poems.
Yes this, this is what I need.
Haiku for Wall Platter
Wall Platter, Robert Parrot
You see where I am
When I sit still I will sing
A faraway place
Where I am flying
A flourish of gold dances
No hurry wind comes
I see in your eyes
Wisdom of soft fluidity
Reflections of joy
Incarcerated Scarfaces, Jason Gerace
When first I saw this stoneware piece I looked away
I envisioned pain anger stubborn disarray
I saw a vessel shaped of traditional mold
like a Greek amphora but the difference is bold
This feminine shape by tradition to hold
is contoured thus but fractious and cold
A worrisome grid has been torn at the sides
I fear cries of despair release from inside
See meticulously carved out bars and seams
haunting though on the surface the shape of joy gleams
No more the nurturing of life death and rebirth
this vessel reflects today’s current of life and its girth
How migrants and those of color are thrown in the grid
And scarred by our thoughts our actions our bid.
Though I cannot fathom her colorful moves
I see the amphora like vessel as a goddess who grooves
She dances rhythmic and writhing smooth
She spins her discord in a dance to soothe
“I celebrate color, your color, mine
I celebrate origins and all of them shine
I am scarred by my life imperfect at best
I am skidding and sliding There is no rest
I am a house without walls my edges undefined
Impassioned graffiti! Who can follow their lines!
These laws and byways mix me up
I look for answers for water I have no cup
A crisis of credibility. A crisis of systems
A crisis of almighty catechisms
A crisis of stability and prediction
A crisis of comfort and position
I hear so many lies truth tongue-tied
Words velvet-lined and sanitized
Sounds of violence pierce the air
Words that shame No shaming will heal or repair!
I celebrate color, your color, mine
I celebrate origins and all of them shine
I am scarred by my life, imperfect at best
I am skidding and sliding! There is no rest!
Thrill in your dance but never be mean
Dance from your heart and dare to be seen
Look at me now! how I am spinning!
I am flying, all arms and legs, and winning!
A face scarred behind bars but I am me, all me all me all me!
And in this crowd of color I am free. Yes free! Yes free! Yes free!”
Town Jewels, Lisa Wolkow
learn this way
they said, on amorphous curves
excavate the hard questions
then gauge the stuff of substance
formed with crown transparent,
then beyond that
peering through unnatural
forever city pavement,
I young, our tiny fenced yard,
we slinked through slender alleys
with fragile balls, barrels of cats,
number two pencils
and a non-crystalline barge
to get here scribbling
about towers adorned in highbrow,
Miss Matisse, Anita Griffith
She sends forth a steamy coo –
“Mon pere, my father, made me
What I am – what you see –
A picture of pleasure – n’est-ce pas?
My lips are – que’st-ce que c’est?
What is it in English? – Alluring?
Heart-shaped – waiting for romance.
Inviting your kiss, si’l vous plait.
Mon pere says what he dreams of
Is an art that is pure and calm –
An art for not only the intellectual,
Not just the business man or the writer,
But for everyman to become a hedonist
For the moment – to just look at me
Without wondering if some deep message
Might be hidden behind my black eyelashes.
Come to me, mon ami, pick me up,
Pour me, take me to your lips.
No, you will not need sugar,
I am sweet enough. Relax. Drink me in.”
A Lily for Gertrude
(in remembrance of Gertrude Talmadge)
Yellow Lily, Christa Lorusso
At ninety-two she has given up
On the out-of-doors – sits at
Her kitchen table with a window view
Of the white clapboards on the side of
Our house across the way.
So we have planted a rhododendron
And an azalea to brighten
Her springtime hours but come
Early June the scene will lack color.
Day lilies and tiger lilies not yet in bloom –
No show ‘til July. Our rose bush –
The clerk at the nursery blushed
When we asked its name –
“Passionate Kisses” – has been
Slow to pucker up. The lilac’s sweet smell
Has wafted away on the late May air.
What to do to bring color for Gertrude
Beyond the green grass with its dandelion
Threat sprouting here and there.
I need a perennial with flair.
I need a Christa Lorusso creation.
Kiln-formed glass and copper –
Yellow – burnt umber freckles –
A bulb as big as an elephant’s heart –
A show-stopper to ameliorate
The slow hours of later years.
I’ll plant this yellow lily to coax Gert’s smile.
A yellow lily that will stay awhile –
At least ‘til the zinnias –
Boisterous, bouncing beauties
At least – ‘til the zinnias, Gertrude –
The yellow lily – the zinnias…