A Day at Connemara: Soaking in Sandburg

(Idyllic, almost-Asian artistry of form: an early Spring branch against a still pond, at Carl Sandburg’s home in Connemara, Flat Rock, North Carolina….Fish lazily swim in eddies, lulled in the warming rays of the sun. Photo by CKMellor, Spring 2011).

***As I grow older, I’m comforted in the belief we’re all connected, somehow. Walking the violet-studded grounds of Sandburg’s home, in Spring, I see what he saw and witness the continuity of life: a bird flashing through dogwood branches; goats scampering on the hillsides (doubtless descendants of wife Lilian’s prize herd); the bentwood chair atop the granite outcropping behind the house where Sandburg spent hours writing. These are the woodlands he ambled. There, in that pastoral setting, he penned the memories of a lifetime.

***The poem below is my humble attempt to try a new medium. Though inspired by Sandburg’s idyllic Connemara, it more aptly mimics a cheeky Emily Dickinson in tone. What do you think?

Chain Reaction (or “The Continuity of Life”)

I want to know my deceased parents
Fulfill a lofty purpose at present
After all, wherever they’ve gone,
I most likely will follow.
I don’t envision either of them
Sitting on some stupid cloud, playing a harp
Or flitting from one celestial event to another
(Although my Mom would probably love that)
You see—if occupying that vapid state is all there is,
I don’t want to be this ball of never-ending energy
The one that never dies
Just seeks a different host
If that’s the case, we’re no different than cats
Who breed with their siblings, for God’s sake!
(Oh, they’re not to be blamed–
Incest requires one know the crime.)
I try hard to make sense of it all
More so later in life, when the clock is ticking louder
Reminding me that if I don’t fathom the bigger reason soon
I join all the others on this conveyor belt of life
Going Who-Knows-Where?, dressed only
With that catatonic look on their faces
That says: “I don’t have a clue, either.”
“I’m just along for the ride.”
I suppose when my time comes,
My daughters will bury me, too.
At which point I’ll join the cloud-hoppers.

But I refuse to carry a harp,
….And I definitely won’t be singing.

*** Poetry’s just another art form (along with writing and photography) I’m attracted to in my later years. Odd because I never had much interest in it before. Maybe I’m maturing…..finally. Or it might be because the “rules” have changed…and one doesn’t need to follow a stodgy format. Acclaimed poet Maya Angelou says “Poetry is music for the human voice.”

Because April is National Poetry Month, I take this opportunity to encourage others to discover and nurture budding interest in this vein. Just find a quiet spot where you can ruminate, take out that pen or keyboard, and write a poem…Who knows? One of us might very well be the Grandma Moses of the Verse World (she didn’t paint ’til her 70’s) You can even post your creation here at Biddy Bytes (then you’ll officially be “published”)…The beauty is: We don’t have to be really good…we just need to try.

(Below are more pictures of Connemara, the home to which Sandburg, “America’s Poet,” retreated at the age of 62. It is now a National Historic Site to be appreciated by all.)

*And here is a teachers’ link for poetry inclusion in lessons (even the science variety.) Now, who would think those two worlds would meld? Especially interesting–Click on Dr. Maya Angelou’s “What poets do you recommend?” where she encourages those who seek a broader education to immerse themselves in the writings of ALL poets of every stripe….Why not send this post to a teacher who might appreciate a unique means of spicing up curriculum?

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About admin

A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog, kevinMD.com, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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