Friday, June 24, 2011

Poetry Friday: Stay Word & Art

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I have always been intrigued by stories of how art and words find each other.  Below you will find how one such pairing recently nestled itself into my life.  I feel very grateful to be tied to Carol Sloan with invisible threads of life, love, and family.

The Sloan Tree
Artwork by Carol Sloan

Many many months ago, I sent a poem into a "call" for writing.  Patti Digh, author of many books including life is a verb, asked readers of her blog (the inspiring 37 Days) to send advice to her graduating daughter, Emma.  At that time, a few of my dearest people were going through difficult times, and I wrote and shared this poem, thinking about how much we need each other.

Patti shared many of the submitted essays and bits of advice on her blog, and I enjoyed reading words of comfort, strength, and kindness.  Time passed.  My poem didn't show up on the web, but I did receive an invitation to be a part of Patti Digh's newest book, what i wish for you: simple wisdom for a happy life.

When this book came out two months ago, I was moved to find the soulful artwork you see above matched with my poem, below.  Carol's three trees stand lovingly close to each other.  Two birds stay close too.  Reading the story behind Carol's art at The Sketchbook Challenge, I was amazed and touched by how we, two people who had never met, had created and connected from miles apart.  Both of us were surprised.

Students - I believe in staying close, even when it's not easy.  When someone we love is sad, it's tempting to go and hide or to stay away like a turtle burrowing more deeply into its shell.  After all, what can one say when everything feels scary or bad?  But sad times call us to lean on each other, young or old, bit or small.  Sometimes we need each other's sun, and sometimes we need each other's shade.

Writing this poem for Emma, I found that I was writing it for me and for my friends and family too.  For while it can be difficult to be present for someone sad, it can be even more difficult to accept help or encouragement.  This poem serves as a reminder to me: let people in, let people in.

This poem grew from something I believe in: staying close.  What do you believe?  If you know what you believe, if there are words you feel deep in your core, then you have found  a breathing poem, a breathing poem just waiting to find its way to paper.

Here's Patti Digh, talking about her new book, what i wish for you: simple wisdom for a happy life.  I am honored to be a part of it and to share a page with Carol Sloan. 

Carol Wilcox is hosting today's Poetry Friday at Carol's Corner with beautiful words from Mary Oliver.  Don't miss it!

(Please click on POST A COMMENT below to share a thought.)


  1. Thanks for sharing, Amy. The artwork isn't showing up on my screen, but your poem certainly hits a chord of truth. I enjoyed the interview with Patti Digh - congrats on your work's being included in the book!

  2. Love your poem, Amy! Carol's book looks wonderful. Couldn't see the art either :( . . .

  3. I know from experience that it't hard to let people get close during times of trouble. But I learned that letting others help is as important for THEM as it is for ME.

    Hugs to you and yours.

  4. True words, Amy. Words that we should hold close!

  5. Thank you for letting me know about Carol's artwork, friends. I made the mistake of posting it as a PNG instead of a JPEG. It should be good now.

    Happy PF!


  6. Staying close is fantastic advice, and it works beautifully in this poem. thanks for sharing.

  7. Beautiful words, Amy. So important.

  8. This is such an amazing poem! My Mom recently passed away from Cancer, and it has been very difficult. Your poem is a wonderful reminder to stay close, give love and support one another, and accept the love of others (which is sometimes more difficult than showing love). I would like to print this page and give a copy to my sister, brother, and dad. Thank you for writing and sharing your beautiful words. 💞❤💞 It means a lot. :-)