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April — Poetry Princess Project

fresco2

It’s a month of ekphrastic poems for my poetry sisters and me — and wow, what art, huh? Laura Purdie Salas found it at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis — it’s part of a ceiling fresco and she thought (rightly) that it might serve to inspire us.

My poem emerged as a villanelle. Enjoy. Or take in. Do with it what you may…

Hark!
By Liz Garton Scanlon

Hark, who’s that knocking, who comes to call?
The fallen and slothful, you vain and you meek –
you’re welcome here, truly, there’s room for you all.

You come bearing gifts, some spiteful, some small.
Horned heroes bow humbly, the devious speak –
hark, who’s that knocking and who comes to call?

Now hush — a suggestion – that we raise a wall
to keep us from outsiders evil or weak:
You’re unwelcome here now; there’s no room for you all.

There’s enough here already, there’s rancor and sprawl!
The masses, all sure of their fervent critique,
call out Hark, who is knocking, oh who comes to call?

The harpy sings shrilly, beasts hide in god’s shawl
and the picture they paint is horrific and bleak.
Are we still welcomed truly, is there room for us all?

What started as discourse has descended to brawl
and we’ve traded on everything right and unique.
Hark, now, who’s knocking and who comes to call?
You’re welcome here, truly, there’s room for you all.

I’d love for you to go see the poems all my pals have put up too:
Laura Purdie Salas
Sara Lewis Holmes
Kelly Fineman
Andromeda Jazmon
Tanita Davis
Tricia Stohr-Hunt

And there will be a whole Poetry Month Kick-Off Round-Up over at my friend Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s blog! Hurrah!!

Posted on 04/01/2016 11:40 am
 

20 Comments

  1. I love that you used a villanelle to express all the twisty, turny politics of exclusion….the subtle changes from the welcoming “Hark, who’s that knocking, who comes to call?” to the suddenly suspicious…WHO’s that knocking….” back to the plea for everyone to be welcome.

    What is welcome but Well come. We are all on a journey…all hoping to be well come, at last, to a place that feels like home. Thanks for writing poetry with me on the journey…

    Reply

  2. Varsha Bajaj

    I love that your poem brings yesterday and today together. and thanks for an introduction to the villanelle.

    Reply

  3. That third and fourth stanza–boy, am I guilty of feeling like that, sometimes. Not on big issues of race or immigration, but on smaller, more personal issues of being generous with my time. Thank you for this beautiful reminder to make all welcome.

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  4. Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

    Love this poem and how it manages to be about politics and issues and transcend them all at the same time. The way you skew your repeated lines is perfection.

    Reply

    • oh, thanks, Kelly — the form was helpful — I didn’t know what to do with this on my own….

      Reply

  5. Thanks for the invitation, but I think I’ll pass! Love your poem, but this art is too weird for my tastes!!

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  6. The place I seek them
    is inside a fallen leaf,
    a new egg, a flower bud
    or a twisted tale of grief.

    On the underside of lily leaves
    where scarlet beetle eggs lay
    is all the universe: stars,
    winds, earth, water every day.

    I hope you don’t mind me sticking in my freckled nose, but after reading all these… Well, the cork was popped, the dam breached, the words overflowed. I will reference all of you on my post and put the picture there, too, with credit to Laura Purdie Salas.

    The above is an excerpt, and the full poem is on my site here: http://friendlyfairytales.com/2016/04/03/find-the-divine/

    It was fun, and I’m glad I got to join the fun. XOXO

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  7. I know you said you felt a bit caged by the form this time, but I think this is such a beautifully inclusive poem.

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    • Thanks, Tanita. That means a lot. I found the art itself so challenging and it was all uphill from there. I often think about how bookclubs get you to read books you might not otherwise read, and our “poetry club” gets us to write poems we might not otherwise write!

      Reply

  8. WOW. This rocked me, Liz. Thank you. You bring wisdom from strange! Help us all…
    Happy National Poetry Month!
    xo

    “The harpy sings shrilly, beasts hide in god’s shawl
    and the picture they paint is horrific and bleak.
    Are we still welcomed truly, is there room for us all?

    What started as discourse has descended to brawl
    and we’ve traded on everything right and unique.
    Hark, now, who’s knocking and who comes to call?
    You’re welcome here, truly, there’s room for you all.”

    Reply

    • Thank you, Amy. That means a LOT coming from you. Strange is right — this art really through me!!

      Reply

  9. You’ve done such a wonderful job with this form, Liz. You made it work for the image and the current climate. Bravo!!!

    Reply

  10. I love, love, LOVE that you wrote a villanelle. The form itself welcomes you in and is perfect for your notion of welcoming others. I could not find anything agreeable to write about with this image. I’m glad you were so inspired. This is lovely.

    Reply

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