April 12, 2016

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Jewel Blue Eye: 2014 Poetry Project

It’s our second to last day of the Pantone® Poetry Project, Writerly Friends. What overlaps do you see in today’s jewel-toned verse?

Our Day 27 colors are:

Day 27 Peacock Green
Pantone ®  16-5431

Day 27 Blue Jewel
Pantone ®  18-4535
F0r more information about what we've been up to during the Pantone Poetry Project, visit thispost.

Several pieces of response writing today mention dreams, religion and myth, and Ancient Greece. Let’s start with a haiku by Linda Baie of TeacherDance.

the peacock’s tail
flashes iridescent green
like a night parade of fireflies

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

Those lovely eye-feathers invite comparison to other images: eyes, lights, stars, fireflies.

Read about structural coloration at Wikipedia.
Margaret Simon (Reflections on the Teche) gathered so much information and pre-writing for her poem, she decided to use a poetic form. Sometimes big poems need a container to give them shape, which Margaret does to great effect here.

By Margaret Simon

            a ghazal in the style of Robert Bly (

Memories of our days together form
Teardrops upon this promise ring.
The gem reflects the color of our baby’s eyes.

Dreams rock the child gently on the Aegean Sea
Awakening to the sound of rushing waves,
This guardian of beauty, her eyes.

Focused on the dimming of imperfections,
Outshined by inspiration’s glorious sky,
Gold can purify in fire, turning ashes to eyes.

The jewel carries immortality and value,
Sees her for who she really is, momento mori
Written on her brow above her eyes.

We weep for we know we die, again and again.
When we can’t find heaven, there are always peacocks
Fanning regal feathers topped with resurrection eyes.

Your gift, dear Margaret, is in the gentle alto tone,
A voice raised to praise on Sunday mornings,
Mother’s requiem in your golden brown eyes.

I learned today that peacocks are associated with both the resurrection of Jesus, but also with resurrection in the form of the mythological Phoenix. My poem today was almost titled "Phoenix on Earth."

Where did I pick up this info? I found an informative site (The Art of Mourning) that touched on the peacock’s symbolism in mythology, alchemy, and Jungian psychology. Whew – that was a lot of information. My brain kept wanting to escape and write about something less high-brow, but the poem I ended up with surprised me. When I revise, I may follow  Margaret's example and try a poetic form to contain these ideas.

Bird Alchemy
by Laura Shovan

Alchemists named
the moment of transmutation
Eye of the Peacock—
when lead begins to understand
its golden nature.
But I’ve been reading
too much myth today.
Jung’s symbols have me so
addled that Australian penguins
from this morning’s news
swim close, scatter peafowl
as if their tails were not made
of shimmering feathers,
but of oily pools. These penguins
must be washed of oil and dried.
Then they need wooly sweaters
to keep their bodies warm.
I want to knit them jumpers
with whorls of peacock green,
sapphire blue—penguins covered
with the hundred eyes of Argus,
each eye watching for the moment
of our understanding.

Oiled penguin in jumper
It's real and you can find
the pattern right here.

I have to admit, I read Patricia’s poem for today before I wrote mine. She must have talked me into committing mythological allusions without a license.

Peacock Green
By Patricia VanAmburg

On a green sward beside the ruins
peacocks are screaming at Knossos
just as they screamed long ago
when the blue jewel Aegean
swallowed the ancestors of Zeus.

Patricia adds, “The Prince of Lilies fresco from Knossos has peacock feathers--though I could not find a very good image--and the restoration has been very controversial.

Let’s end today with a mysterious poem (Jung would approve) by Diane Mayr of Random Noodling.

Speaking for the Peafowl of Princes
by Diane Mayr

You complain
when your sleep
is interrupted
by our calls.
You complain
of our many eyes
that find their way
into your dreams.
You brought us
here where we
do not belong.
I say, you get what
you deserve.

I must say readers -- and especially writers -- for a set of poems about color, this month has been a feast.

What will you bring to the table on Friday, when we celebrate the end of our month-long Pantone® Poetry Project with the color below? Whether you've got something sweet, savory, or spicy -- leave it in the comments and I'll include your poem in Friday's post.

Day 28 Tandori Spice
Pantone ®  18-1444


Patricia said...

wow--the alchemy of today's poems...
peacock feathers and oil spills will be forever related for me.

Diane Mayr said...

Each day the poem bounty grows! Fabulous job everyone!

The penguin, though exceedingly cute, should give us pause. I've been reading about the fairy penguins of Australia for years now. It seems like oil spills happen frequently. It's sickening what we're doing to our world all for the convenience of having a car, or two, or more.

Margaret Simon said...

Wow! These are amazing. I love the time each one of us took to craft. Thanks so much Laura again for doing this.

Linda B said...

Finally had some time to read and re-read. They are fascinating, the craft, but also the content each of you included. I am continually entertained, and always taught. Thanks everyone!