April 12, 2016

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Play of Light: 2014 Poetry Project

Writerly Friends, I am looking at six inches of fresh snow. We tend to think snow: white. But one of today’s Pantone® colors, “Plein Air,” invites us to look at the snow in a new light.

Day 25 Plein Air
Pantone ®  13-4111
I notice a gray tone in shadows, in the places where my dog made a path into the back yard. If I were a painter going outdoors to capture the snow, I might see a blue undertone to the white, or yellow in the shadows.

Are you so tired of winter weather that you can’t bear this plein air exercise? You’re welcome to stay in and enjoy a glass of wine. Our second color for Day 25 of the Pantone® Poetry Project is Syrah.

Day 25 Syrah
Pantone ®  19-1535
We have four days left in our month-long writing project. Stop by this post to read the back-story of the Pantone® Poetry Project.

Get out your traveling easels and your bottle of wine. We are globe-trotting today in the name of poetry. Let’s start our trip in the Louisiana Bayou with Margaret Simon.

En Plein Air on the Bayou
By Margaret Simon

I sit en plein air
watching the sun create
dancing shadows on the bayou,
ripples arms of cypress trees
to the flowing stream.

When I meditate in open air,
I feel the strength of a creator
echoed in the voice of the Barred Owl,
painted in the details of wild golden rod.

The boom of bass from a passing car,
fades into a gentle swaying of sounds,
signaling the end of winter,
the coming of lavender.

Photo courtesy of Margaret Simon

Diane Mayr is also thinking of spring. Her poem and image remind me of the Japanese cherry blossoms soon to appear in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

The image is from a postcard from the NYPL Digital Gallery. You know how much I love postcards, Diane.

Let’s fly off to the Middle East with Linda Baie’s etymological poem, which uses word history and family history to make connections.

By Linda Baie

Sometimes while pursuing information
a small gift is found, a fact, a photo,
a piece of beauty with unexpected connections.
I was excited to read Syrah, similar to Sarah,
my daughter’s name, given
from my grandmother and the Bible.
No, Syrah is not a Sarah, but also known as Shiraz,
one of the oldest cities in Iran, formerly Persia.
Celebrated as a city of arts and letters,
home of the poet Hafiz,
earliest known reference on clay tablets, 2000BC.
This color, Syrah (or Shiraz) is also a wine grape
coming from a small area in southeast France .
A favorite wine of my family, my link discovered.
I imagine sitting in that poetic city Shiraz,
before women were forbidden to gather,
sipping wine with my friends-
laughing over our attempts to write like Hafiz.

     Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

To end a poem with Hafiz is an invitation to keep writing more poetry, so let’s trek to France for our final two offerings.

I am fascinated with Claude Monet’s studies of light. He returned to some subjects – water lilies, haystacks – again and again, painting the exact same form at different times of day and in changing seasons. My favorite of these is Monet’s series of Rouen Cathedral.
'Rouen Cathedral in the Morning Fog', 1894 (oil on canvas)
'Rouen Cathedral in the Morning Fog,' 1894
From Arty Factory
Plein Air
By Laura Shovan

Monet observes Rouen’s façade
in thirty forms of light.
These are the doors at two p.m.
If I had known when we married
how shifting light imparts a change
to the character of stone—
These are the columns at six
on a summer evening, dressed
in blue shadows. The saints
carved into the archivolt dissolve.
Monet undoes their robes,
their stoic faces are mutable.
These are the towers, the gable
on a cloudy morning.
How you’d balk should I
make a study of your face,
the way the hour, the season
adapts each feature. The way
light constructs your form.
How little I know you
when I stop to see.

Our last stop is the River Seine in Paris. Patricia VanAmburg says, “I am the woman in the painting, but the artist is more Matisse than Monet.

Wine on the Seine
by Patricia VanAmburg

A silver-haired woman
sips some Syrah 
from a cut-glass goblet
en plein air 
and sun-drenched canvas.

The Pont Saint-Michel - Henri Matisse
'The Pont Saint-Michel," 1900
From Wiki Paintings

Tomorrow is Day 26 of our project. We have three colors to inspire new writing. You might find all of these hues in the shadows of deep snow, but I won’t blame you for thinking ahead to spring. 
Day 26 Stormy Weather
Pantone ®  18-4214
Day 26 Porcelain Blue
Pantone ®  14-4512

Day 26 Daybreak
Pantone ®  17-3817


Patricia said...

Oh--I want to be in all of those places--the bayou and Persia--and most of all--the archivolt dissolve in Rouen fog--anywhere but here in the endless snow (shoveling).

Patricia said...

... and how could I forget the mockingbird in the morning air?

Author Amok said...

I agree, Patricia! I haven't been to any of these places (unless you count Paris when I was 14), except in my imagination.

Linda B said...

We must all be yearning for something, hence the romance from these colors-beautiful everyone!

Margaret Simon said...

I love the connections of our poems. You should consider a collection. Our voices blend into a beautiful chorus. I'm so happy to be in the company of this group of poets.

patricia said...

It is a lovely company indeed, Margaret.

Diane Mayr said...

Isn't it interesting that Margaret's photo is of wisteria and the reason I picked that particular postcard is because of the wisteria!

Michael Ratcliffe said...


Here's my poem for Day 26:

Morning sky, porcelain blue-- March snow--
we know winter's not through.
Spring awaits daffodil's cue
to return with Beltaine's hue.