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Poetry calls us to pause. There is so much we overlook, while the abundance around us continues to shimmer, on its own. --Naomi Shihab Nye

Poetry Calls Us To Pause

--by Elizabeth Brule Farrell, Mar 27, 2021

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your own heart.   --Carl Jung

I have been writing poems since childhood. My notebook became a friend with whom I could have a quiet dialogue. This relationship has continued and sustained me for decades.  It is in observing the small things that make up a daily life that calls me into making a poem.

It is the simple topic, a commonality that I choose to explore, so when I walk down a street, open a can of soup, view a fading poster on the wall, or imagine what I might write in wet cement, I ask myself what am I noticing and what is my response in the moment.

The action of allowing a pause to set down words without knowing their direction, following a free flow of a spontaneous impulse, always leads to a discovery for me. This gives shape to what becomes a poem. A coming together in the moment of what is given to me, the writer, and what then is offered to you, the reader. We meet each other in this way.

 

FOR EVERYONE

Taking the exit to the city

you pass bleak alley ways, chic

restaurants, someone sitting

on the sidewalk stoned.

He cannot even crawl to the trash

to retrieve half eaten muffins.

He is the pavement, a part

of the scenery, a broken monument

no one sees anymore. I pause

thinking he is someone’s

brother, son, father, husband,

uncle, friend, who used to belong

somewhere else but has lost

the address, the will, the mind,

and cannot move from this place.

I say hello. I try and make it

the holiest hello ever said

in a tone that really means

I know you; I love you.

 

***

 

ALPHABET SOUP

It’s easier to open a can,

watch the letters float.

The spoon swirls in the broth

catching a word to swallow.

There is bread to break

and a prayer to be said.

Not for miracles

but for the ordinary.

 

***

 

THE CHANGING FIELD

Under my arm I carried home the print

in its cardboard tube from the gallery.

A frame was built and glass cut to fit

over Van Gogh’s yellow wheat.

Years of sunlight through the window

gradually bleached the colors

changing the warm open field

into a barren desert.

But the birds!  Their wings

never left the sky.

 

***

 

HOPE

I want to write the word

letter by letter

as you would with a stick

in the sand

or a finger in the dirt,

each letter

magnified on the ground.

Four letters

shaped by a shoe tip

or the edge of a rock.

A wish

in wet cement.

 

***

 

Grateful acknowledgement to the following publications where the poems first appeared:

The Awakenings Review, 2020, For Everyone, Spillway, 2016, Alphabet Soup, Poetry East, 2011, The Changing Field, Watch My Rising, 2016, Hope.

  


Elizabeth Brulé Farrell has been the recipient of The Louise Bogan Memorial Award for Poetry, written advertising copy in Chicago before moving to New England, been writer-in-residence in several elementary schools. Her poems have been published in The Paterson Literary Review, Another Chicago Magazine, The Healing Muse, Earth’s Daughters, The Comstock Review, Pilgrimage, Except for Love: New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall, The Perch, and more.



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