Thursday, April 05, 2007

Ordinary Beauty

It was raining and colder yesterday...but I realize I can see the season developing like a photo when I slow down enough to look at it. There are at least two dozen shades of green where I live. This, in part, is why I'm not looking to re-locate far from here when we put our house up for sale next year. There is so much to say about this--about how it feels to plan to leave the house I grew up in and have raised my children in these years...the ordinary beauty I am trading for another glimpse at what home could be.

Ordinary beauty has also struck me in the magnolias blooming like mad in the front yard. Their raining petals are even more magical to me when I think about how short a time this tree flowers. Soon it will yield to green leaves and be just as nondescript as any other tiny tree on any other street. Its breathtaking potential will be just our pretty little secret for another year.

She sent me this journal just because I knew some song lyrics and decided to play along. It was my second win...the first palm-sized notebook became a mini gratitude journal where I jot down random things I appreciate and need to remember. This one is BIG and I am thrilled with the infinite possibilities for the words I'll ultimately fill it with.

Rosie...her Easter necklace made in school and devoured in minutes--just because ordinary beauty is made extraordinary by her unusual way of looking at the world, and who doesn't need to be reminded of how amazing the mundane life can be from the perspective of a three-year-old?

Ordinary beauty in Marge Piercy's poem, "For the young who want to", which Cyndy from my writing group decided to share with all of us in honor of our determined plodding along against the page, and I am sharing here in honor of Poetry Thursday. While we're at it, in honor of (inter)National Poetry month, even if you never read poems...I urge you get out there and try it for just this month at least. When April ends and you're still on the prowl for new poems, you can thank me later and I promise not to say "I told you so"...

For the young who want to
by Marge Piercy

Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don't have a baby,
call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.'s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else's mannerisms

is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you're certified a dentist.

The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.

from The Moon Is Always Female, 1980


Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

Brilliant poem, I can so relate. I really need to read more of Marge Piercy's poems. Lucky you winning that lovely journal too! But I almost wish you hadn't shown the link to the song lyrics, i so know that song and just can't think what it is.... LOL!

10:13 AM  
Blogger January said...

Great poem and photos. Marge Piercy is amazing, and this is the perfect poem. The last line is so true.

We had snow/sleet last night. Ugh.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Nessie Noodle said...

I know most come for your words, but I stop by to see the photos most of the time. (although your words are a fantastic extra)

this photo of your daughter is fantastic...

10:58 AM  
Blogger Remiman said...

Such exquisite truths in this poem.....Really!

11:08 AM  
Anonymous bookbinds said...

I love Marge Piercy, great poem to share!

11:16 AM  
Blogger Deb R said...

That's a beautiful poem! And I love the magnolia bud photo.

12:12 PM  
Blogger pepektheassassin said...

Thanks for the poem, and for the beautiful pictures. This poem made me think of The Wizard of Oz--the cowardly lion getting a medal to prove his courage, the tin-man, a heart (which they already had, of course, in abundance)--and the scarecrow, a diploma of some sort.

12:26 PM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

mmmmm...she's right...sometimes it would seem more 'real' with a certifcate to show for it but the truth is it is the doing that makes it so...

3:49 PM  
Blogger Colorful Prose said...

Love it! How fickle people can be.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Great poem! Thanks for the intro :)
I'm also getting ready to move from a home I love to a new "home."
Beautiful child.

5:01 PM  
Blogger The Whole Self said...

i heart that picture of your little girl and her necklace,


i keep a copy of 'the moon is always female' on my bedside table.


7:59 PM  
Blogger acumamakiki said...

I love your words here about the fragile beauty of magnolias - so much in life is this way.

I covet that journal, how delicious. xo

9:13 PM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

crafty green poet: Brittany is thinking of doing a new kind of challenge soon, so you might be safe from Bon Jovi yet (yes, I said Bon Jovi!)

January: We had some flurries too, I'm just trying to be patient.

Nessie: Thank you about the photo comment, that means a lot coming from you...

Remiman: I knew any writer out there could appreciate it!

Bookbinds: Marge Piercy is a wonder...

Deb: it is now a full blossom...I've got to get back out there and take more...

Pepek: that is a wonderful comparison...some days I think I need more courage, heart, and diplomas!

la vie: "it is the doing that makes it so"...I needed these words this morning, thank you.

colorful prose: fickle opinions sometimes sound like truth, don't they?

Tammy: since my move is still in the idea phase, you'll have to give me some tips once yours is underway...

whole self: her necklace was gone so fast I'm glad I at least got a quick shot of it first...I want to know more about your bedside table!

acumamakiki: you just need to check back at Brittany's site for her game...if it's song lyrics--I KNOW you'll win a journal in your mailbox too...

8:22 AM  
Blogger brittany said...

It makes me happy to think of my creations being filled with your words. (Hey, I got a special request for 80's rock--I thought Bon Jovi qualified. he hee. The requester didn't win the game!)

Thanks for sharing beauty--I love coming here and being filled.


9:24 AM  
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

Ooh, I want an edible necklace like that! That journal is pretty fabulous too! And I didn't know you were planning to move next year -- I hope you find the perfect place.

10:48 AM  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

Thanks for sharing her poem. I will look her up.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

Oh, my very talented friend, this whole post is pure poetry! That first line about the season developing like a photograph. Wonderful! Made me read it three times, just to soak it in.

You are a teacher, for sure. ;)

And this picture of your little sweetcake! I could eat HER! She is so cute.

I feel like I want to send you a huge hug! why? hmm... just because, I guess.


1:55 PM  
Blogger daisies said...

i adore this poem as its words fill me up and i adore this post filled with moments of beauty, the extraordinary beauty of our world and is ordinary moments ...

a new journal always fills me with hope for the new words that will fill its pages, what a lovely gift :)

2:31 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

An amazing poem! Thank you so much for sharing!


6:44 PM  
Blogger melba said...

I love that necklace on your daughter!
Happy Easter!!

12:38 PM  
Blogger [a} said...

the portrait photo of your daughter I LOVE! the poem is especially true. my family want me to become a doctor, or engineer, for example--something feasible. "writer" or "humanitarian" isn't "practical" enough for their approval. :-( thanks for sharing, i printed it out and put it up in my room.

p.s. i moved to

4:30 PM  
Blogger Kim G. said...

The poem and pictures are wonderful! It does often feel like a selfish, aimless endeavor to chase after artistic dreams and yet it's so encouraging to see others lifted up and encouraged by our efforts. Even if it's helping a child make an edible necklace! ;) Happy Easter!

11:36 PM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

Brittany: THANK YOU for the beautiful journal...

Laini: we are planning a move for 2008, I want a modest house on a generous plot of land--see what kind of magic your hopes can drum up for me!

Guatami: you won't be disappointed...

Amber: you are a teacher yourself, but I think you know that.

Daisies: a new journal makes me feel like a kid at I know what you mean.

Claire: thanks...

Melba: she wants to make another one already!

a: you already are a writer...hope you'll keep believing that.

Kim: what a beautiful is all about finding balance, isn't it?

6:47 AM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

Wonderful poem, photos, as well as your own words. Lovely journal, which no doubt you soon will fill with your lyrical writing. xo

11:08 AM  
Anonymous AscenderRisesAbove said...

the peeps necklace photo is adorable!!

10:18 AM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

Bon Jovi? Really? That isn't what i would have said. Maybe I'm confusing it with something else!

4:21 AM  

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