Poetry Sisters Project — June 2016

Another month, another poetry project. This one is an ekphrastic based on this amazing sculpture by Mary Pownall Bromet, a student of Rodin’s. Our poetry pal Tanita discovered her at Kelvingrove Museum in Scotland and thought yes, and we agreed.

The sculpture is called The Harpy Celaeno. The Harpy.
A name with so many connotations. Not good ones.
But there’s always another side of the story. At least that’s what I thought.

So. Without further ado….

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Electra’s Daughter
After Mary Pownall’s “The Harpy Celaeno”
By Liz Garton Scanlon

To be part bird but also stone?
It’s enough to drive a woman mad –
the impossibility of flight, the desire

to steal away with what belongs
to her. They call her shrill and sharp
but listen – that is a lament,

a wail, a storm of want,
a wind not in charge of herself.
Unfurl your brow, they say,

lighten your grasp. Until
she has no choice but to turn
on herself, to hold on tight.

Would you like to read the others?

And Poetry Friday is here! Enjoy, friends. And happy summer!

Poetry Princess Project — May 2016

Since a tritina is just half the size of a sestina, it should be super easy, right?

This form sort of bullied me, honestly. I felt kind of pushed in one direction or another until suddenly, poems! That I had nothing to do with! And that I didn’t necessarily love.

But ok. It’s all about the stretch.
Tritinas. Here are a few….


I roll ice around in my mouth
and even as it melts it is heavy as stone.
I want something light, like hope

something soft, a wafer maybe, hope
held like a promise in your mouth
or tossed tenderly, a skipping stone

but lighter, not this cold stoning
iciness that won’t melt, sitting hope-
less and hard to swallow in the mouth

of the river, mouth of the stone wolf holding out hope between us.

Stone Soup

The room sits empty and the night is cold.
With aching bellies we cry open-mouthed:
This is the time for soup made from stone!

What else is there? Pot, sea water, stone.
Who will bring it up to boil from the cold?
Who will add potato, something for the mouth

something real and holy for the mouth
that won’t break teeth or spirits – not stone
nor greed, not ego nor ignorance nor the cold

heart of a cold neighbor mouthing no, no like a stone.


Butter and sugar creamed = sweet.
Winter and morning married = cold.
Each blank page = hope.

I whisk and write with high hopes
in the still dark sweetness,
hands flying through the cold

making something of it. Cold
comfort, but what else is there? Hope
for a warm tart, weak light, words sweet.

Yes, that. Sweet words cut the cold and equal hope.

Ready for more?
Go see the amazing versions my pals did…


And Poetry Friday is here!

Haiku 30, April 30, 2016

This weekend we attended a lovely, funny and moving Passover Seder, held under a tent in our friends’ backyard. (We were part of the “mixed multitudes” since we are not Jewish.) My philosophy in life is that when you’re invited to cool things like that, you should always go (even though the very dominant introvert in me often tries to wiggle out of it).

Anyway, sitting under the tent last night I thought of all the other occasions we gather like this — weddings and graduations, memorial services and family reunions — and about the stories and histories that go along with those events. How delicious is ritual. How comforting and beautiful and right.


Twinkle lights, a tent
Tell me this ancient story
and it will feel new

Speaking of ritual, this ends yet another year of haiku-every-day in April. Thank you for reading and writing with me. It’s been such a satisfying practice. Much love… xxoxo

Haiku 29, April 29, 2016

We are surrounded these days by kids grappling with monumental choices and making big decisions — about colleges and careers and first love affairs and, well, life. I’m just wowed at the grace under fire I’m witnessing all the time, from people less than half my age.

But here’s what else has been eye-opening (and don’t tell the teens because it would be overwhelming) — in so many ways I still feel like I’m that same person in that same place, with an array of big, important choices in front of me every day. Choices that will help determine who I will become and what my life will be like. Well, ok. The rest of my life.


What if I turn here?
How will I know if it’s right?
So many choices.

Haiku 28, April 28, 2016

So, this:


Reminded me of this:


And I wrote this:

Wind-flipped crinoline
is showing off everything
like Marilyn’s skirt