Friday, July 12, 2019

Revisiting an Old Poem with New Art

From April 30, 2015 SING THAT POEM

by Cathy Stephens Pratt

Students - Today's poem is from April 30, 2015...the last day of my SING THAT POEM project for National Poetry Month 2015. Each poem that month matched a song tune, and this one matches the tune of Greensleeves.  I chose to send this poem to artist Cathy Stephens Pratt during SPARK 41. She had sent me a whimsical image of her painting depicting a house, path, flowers, and mushrooms, and I shared the poem I wrote from it HERE.

Cathy made such an enchanting painting to go with this poemsong about Joanna.  I asked her to tell me a bit about her process.  Here is what she said:

Being an illustrator, what I do is take an idea or a story and turn it into a painting. I distill ideas into marks on paper. Sometimes I abstract the images to enhance or simplify ideas, and sometimes what I paint is simply a representation of the words. Amy’s written piece was so utterly charming I only wanted to support her words with simple images. I didn’t want to embellish because I felt like her words were perfectly lovely and told a story, a very vivid story, all by themselves. 

I am grateful to have been paired with Cathy. SPARK always opens my world. And lucky me!  Cathy generously offered to send me her painting, and I am excited to hang it up here at home.  I wish I could find the real Joanna, the real girl who read to birds back in 2013. If I could, I would send the painting to her.  

Do visit Cathy's website, and step into a world of color and joy!

The tag line for SPARK is "art from writing: writing from art." I think that I will go make some drawings and art today.  Our writing selves do feed our art making selves and our art making selves do feed our writing selves. 

In other news:

Linda Kulp of Write Time is the winner of last week's giveaway of I AM SOMEONE ELSE, poems collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Chris Hsu.  Linda - please let me know your snail mail address, and I will send this book your way.

At Sharing Our Notebooks, my other online home, I am thrilled to welcome Art Educator Matthew Grundler. Please visit his post about visual journals...and be inspired! (There is a giveaway there too.)

Jone is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Deowriter with a magical poetry prompt fortune teller gift from Tabatha and some poems they wrote from it.  Delightful! Don't miss  Please know that we gather each Friday, sharing poems and poemlove, and all are always welcome.

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. Wow....I have a childhood friend that touched me like this. I may need to write a poem for her. This is beautiful and a unique, exquisite tribute. I love the repetition of Joanna's name throughout.

  2. I don't remember this wonderful poem, Amy, but am glad you shared again. I keep thinking of all those who have sat and read to the birds in their own special places. I bet there's a lot of them. I have a friend who keeps chickens and whose daughter reads picture books to them. I will send this to her. Thank you.

  3. I liked the poem as I read it, but loved it even more listening to you sing it!

  4. This SPARK thing is such a great idea! How fun!

  5. What a beautiful pairing of poetry, song and art!

  6. How exciting to see your words turned to art. I remember singing this poem with my students. Poems are songs. Poems are art. Poems paint and sing.

  7. What a lovely poem and painting. Writing and art (and music, too) do feed our creative selves. I love the image and story of a girl reading to birds.

  8. Reading to the birds is the perfect way to thank them for their dawn chorus! Your poem is lovely, Amy, and Cathy's painting captures the joy of stories flying "through the morning sky." Thank you for sharing!

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  10. As I was first reading your poem it sounded like a song and I was happy to read that's what you set out to do. Your singing of the poem is lovely, you pulled me right in and added such depth to your already deep poem. Thanks for the song poem and sharing Cathy's Art.

  11. Beautiful. I love the idea of reading to the birds. What if the real Joanna appeared, wouldn’t that be cool?