Poetry Project — December 2016

I’m on the road so am not able to devote time to a more lengthy post, but as the years comes to a close I’m grateful to have my Poetry Sisters with me, as always.

This month, we tackled another ekphrastic — using photos Andi took at Glencairn’s Cloister at the Glencairn Museum in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania.

It looks to be a place of pure, loveliness and it inspired this from me:


Look Up
Liz Garton Scanlon

There are times (like these)
when being somewhere beautiful (holy, almost)
becomes not just pleasant but necessary,

when being somewhere old (and lasting)
becomes not just reassuring but the way
to stay upright, as if a stone column could
serve as a spine, as if a medieval cloister
were the four chambers of one’s own heart.

There are times when we need to see (and trust)
that even granite can be carved into wool
and wings, that even the hardest wall
might soften in the face of dappled sunlight
and someone’s grand ideas.

There are times when we need to see (and trust)
that even when surrounded by manmade concerns,
we are lifted by looking up (by following)
the golden eagle and turtle dove into the sky.

And here are the others:
Sara Lewis Holmes
Kelly Fineman
Tanita Davis
Laura Purdie Salas
Tricia Stohr-Hunt
Andi Sibley

Posted on 12/02/2016 03:59 pm


  1. Somewhere old and lasting — which describes most of the UK — can indeed make you feel like things will last, that vast, stately, stony things have gone on, unconcerned with your petty emotions, and that this, too, shall pass.

    I like this “almost necessary” pleasantness.


  2. That stone spine is still what catches me, Liz. The truth of art in all its forms giving us strength to face another day…wonderful.


    • Yes, what Laura said. The idea that art can hold us up when we feel as if we are falling, or empty, or just too chaotic to function. Your poem conveys that strength and power and indeed, makes me “look up” to go on. xo


      • I love the parts of a whole all of our poems became around this place. There are echoes, like our own voices bounced off the stone…


    • Thanks, Laura. This piece was kind of a comforting one to write, y’know?


  3. SIGH. My favorite lines: “even granite can be carved into wool
    and wings, that even the hardest wall
    might soften”

    You’ve put into words so many of the things I am feeling. Thank you for this beauty!


  4. Stanza Two = Yes, yes, YES!


  5. Beautiful and timely, Liz–thank you!


  6. There is so much to love here. I adore the second stanza. And the words “even the hardest wall
    might soften.”

    This feels like a prayer, one that ends by asking us to look up.
    This is lovely.


  7. What a wonderful poem. I especially love “a stone column could/ serve as a spine, as if a medieval cloister/ were the four chambers of one’s own heart” as some of the others have. So unexpected, I stopped in my scanning to really think and ponder. What a gift. Thanks.


  8. The after thoughts are delightful. Beautiful, beautiful poem. Have a week full of looking up and being lifted up.


  9. Such beautiful, comforting words. Thank you!


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