April 12, 2016

Monday, January 7, 2013

Poetry Postcard 6

The sixth postcard in  my project went in the mailbox Saturday night. Our neighborhood is late on the mail route -- close to 6 PM -- so the card probably left the post office this morning.


River ice floats by,
confection for the eye --
rock candy striped
peppermint, blueberry.
Don’t taste it.
Crunching candy
is hard on teeth.
Don’t let it linger
on the tongue
either. Sugar seeps
into enamel
sure as ice melt
creeps up the gums
of the Hulahula River.

Laura Shovan

The postcard behind this poem is a copyrighted image, but you may view it at the photographer's website. His name is Art Wolfe.

The card arrived in an envelope of postcards from my friend Patricia VanAmburg. Patricia is a poet and retired (sort of) Howard Community College professor. It is a striking image of ice floating on Alaska's Hulahula River.

The river is popular for rafting expeditions. You can read about blogger Eric Goldman's adventure here. It's located in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and is considered a threatened river.

Hulahula River from
I began working on this poem right around New Year's Day, which made the idea of a resolution appealing. But every attempt at being "environmental" with the poem led me nowhere.

Instead, my point of entry -- as it often is -- was visual. The layers of color in the river ice ranged from deep blue, to a blueberry lollipop color, to white. To me, the ice seemed confection-like.

The lines "Crunching candy/ is hard on teeth" may have been influenced by my daughter's recent oral surgery. A week later and she still can't chew properly. (She did go back to school, at last, today.)

I was surprised when the poem circled back to an environmental theme, after all. The last several lines snuck up on me and earned the poem its title, "Resolution."

Map of Rafting the Hulahula River Adventure Travel image
Those of you following the project: I wrote the eleventh poem today, which means I have completed a quarter of the postcards!

So far, I have learned about the Merrimack & the Monitor, 50s era starlet Vera Ellen, and the Hulahula River and become reaquainted with Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle. 

I've been photographing the front of each card before mailing it, but realized I should record the info on the back also. I began doing that this morning, with postcard #9. Should have thought of it sooner.

Last night, I read two of the cards, "Thick Skinned" and one I haven't posted yet, at Minas Gallery. People seem to like the poems. Several in the audience gave me an address to receive a card. One person was in town for the holidays and asked if I'd be willing to send her postcard to Shanghai!

At the end of the project, I'll post a list of states and countries where the postcards were sent. So far, two countries outside the U.S. I haven't made a count of the states, but I'm guessing it's at least half a dozen.


Tabatha said...

Stunning postcard and poem, Laura! I esp. like "confection for the eye." Want me to take a photo of it and email it to you?

Author Amok said...

Hi, Tabatha. I took a shot of it, but trying to respect the copyright. 1989 is not exactly recent, but still...

So glad you enjoyed your card!

Linda B said...

I think you have a picture of mine, don't you, Laura? The poem today is intriguing, almost like the candy is so alluring one must beware of a trick. Isn't it interesting how readers take different things from the words. Thanks!

Liz Steinglass said...

I especially like the opening two lines. And again, what a great project.