Monday, January 30, 2012

January 2012 Challenge Winners - Color Poems

There were a number of excellent poems submitted for the January Challenge, a color poem. Since I knew several of the poets, I printed the poems without the names of the authors, and gave them to Judith Tullis, Vice President of the Illinois State Poetry Society, to judge. Tullis especially liked three of the poems, presented here in reverse order.

Winter White

Blowing, blowing-
The snowdrifts shift and whirl
Wafted fiercely upward,
Like so many ghost strokes.

Who wields the brush?
The One Unseen.
He lays not His hues on the canvas flat
But sends them swirling, drifting, flying.
Like sifted flour blown from beneath,
This ever-changing winter scene.

I watch.
The wind stills,
Its whirrs stop.
The Painter lays down His icy brush
And through the hush the snow-white drifts
In innocence recline.

~ Carole Mertz

This poem appeared in The Lutheran Digest, Winter, 2008.

“'Winter White,'” said Tullis, “is very descriptive of a winter storm and how wind makes the snow drift in all directions and then 'in innocence recline.'" The poet sees the hand of God conducting this event, brushing shades of white everywhere.

Come Evening

Aqua and cornflower-blue
streak the sky.

Rose tones flush and falter
as day draws to a close.

Clouds chase the blush,
make room for strokes

of turquoise, lavender, violet
that tuck in the night

and fade to indigo
with stars shivering white

as I lie
in shades of gray.

~ Marcia J. Pradzinski

Tullis wrote: “In 'Come Evening,' I like the way the poet uses color to progress from afternoon through sunset until finally day is 'tucked in' by the darkest color indigo relieved only by "stars shivering white," observed by the poet who rests in 'shades of grey.' That last line is a wonderful contrast to the rest of the poem.”

An Artist's Transformation

The black and white photograph in our family album
has been transformed into pastel shades
of blues and greens – a dab of pink.
Grandma Ella sits in the meadow,
arranging a bouquet of freshly picked flowers
as her young daughters – Vivian, Ruth, Mae –
all focus on their mother’s hands.

The old snapshot came to life a century later
when Mae’s girl, Diane, dipped her artist’s brush
into a palette of springtime colors.
These images emerge now, like old friends,
from a farm field many miles
and many years away.

~ Marjorie Pagel

“My favorite . . ., though," Tullis wrote, “is 'An Artist's Transformation.'
The idea of a mother and her three daughters in an old black and white family photograph being brought to life by the pastels of an artist from a later generation is simple and beautifully told. The springtime meadow is a perfect setting and I can almost smell the wildflowers.”

Pagel, herself, had this to say about her winning poem:
Although there are no personal pronouns used in this poem, my mother Vivian is one of the three girls seated in the grass as their mother (my Grandma Ella) assembles the bouquet. In my memory my grandmother was an austere woman, and I never would have imagined her sitting in a field of flowers, so I love to see this quiet side of her, as well as the relationship with three of her five daughters. She wasn't more than 30 years old when the photo was taken.

The original painting of this photograph has been copied in color (the wonders of modern technology!). It is framed and hangs on the wall overlooking my computer. When I thought about this month's challenge, I decided to attempt a word portrait which would capture some of the emotion I feel when I think about the original scene and the subsequent transformation by an artistic cousin.

Congratulations to the three winners, and thanks to Judith Tullis for judging the poems this month.

Copyright to the poems posted here remain with their authors.

Thank you to everyone who entered the January Challenge. Watch for the February Challenge, which will be posted soon.

© 2012 Wilda Morris