A Poem for your Thoughts

Lately I have had so many ideas and experienced so many events that would make great posts I really was unsure where to start. But then today as we were hanging and rehanging some of the art in our home I saw and reread the poem we got at this year’s Artstreet, the annual art fair in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Artstreet is a three-day festival of about 200 artists booths, multiple music stages and lots of food vendors. The visual artists include painters, sculptors, printmakers, jewelers, weavers, potters or they make things like wooden bowls, clothing, baskets and furniture. At least I thought they were all visual artists until this year when we rounded one corner and saw this:

photo courtesy of Terra Fewless

(This picture I got from a friend because I didn’t have my wits about me at the time to take a picture.) Seated at the table, was a man, the poet, in a shirt and tie, and wearing a brown fedora on his head. In front of him was a little grey manual Smith Corona typewriter. On the sandwich blackboard it said:

POEMS
•Any Topic
•Typed while you wait
•Pay whatever you choose

Curt immediately say down and said he would like a poem about birds. The poet proceeded to ask him some questions like interests, what he bought at Artstreet, and other things to get a feel for the poem he was about to write on the spot. Curt told him we were birders and we had purchased a carved feather from one of the artists but he didn’t show the poet the piece we bought. As they continued to talk I wandered off because once the poet had the information he needed he had to spend a little time thinking and typing. I was back in about 10 minutes and the poet had a piece of paper in the typewriter and was slowing working away, considering his words and his punctuation. No whiteout here so mistakes really weren’t acceptable (on ours he did change “moves” to “move” so we have a tiny cross out). When he was done, he embossed it with a seal that said: Fox River Poetry Company, est. 2012, Berlin, WI. He numbered it (#617), signed it, dated it and then he read it to us.

Flight

Look closely and you can see
the air moves. See the dip and
curl of feathers while they
press the air and put to rest
every rule of gravity and how
we live in it.  They are the ones
that look down–
from tops of trees, from the
windswept thermals, from
perches that we can only
dream of.  They speak a
language of morning.
It is their song that defines
their place in the world,
that small self-claimed spot,
but they all lay claim to the air,
that lofty space above us,
where we can only fly in
when we dream.

Flight by Paul Wiegel (2017)

 

We were quite pleased,(although Curt expected something more haiku-ish), not just with the poem but with the experience. So today we hung the poem just below the carved feather. I think it works.

Northern Cardinal: Tail Feather #5 by Ginnie Sherer and Dick Oelschlager (top) and Flight by Paul Wiegel (bottom)

If you are interested in a poem of your own you can contact Paul Wiegel at his website, Fox River Poetry or look for him at an art fair or market near you.

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Glow Little Glowworm

fwTonight is the night America shoots off millions of dollars worth of fireworks. I’ve always enjoyed the fireworks displays on the 4th even though it’s been years since we have gone to the city center to see the “big show”. We did it on a regular basis when Nathan was little. For many years a friend of ours lived just a few blocks away from the mouth of the Fox River where they shot them off. We would park at her house then walk over with our lawn chairs and sit in a parking lot behind a warehouse.  A couple of years we should have brought umbrellas because the incoming shrapnel was pretty impressive. Huge chunks flying out of the air, and some of them still hot, practically landed in our laps. My son brought home some impressive souvenirs. Other years we would drive down to a park on the bayshore to the east of the city and watch the fireworks over the water. That was pretty cool because they would reflect in the water thus giving us a double show.

As we all got older, Curt wasn’t much interested in going out so it was just Nathan and I, parking along the road or going out on a pier near the University.

Then there was our roof phase. We live on a hill about four miles from the bay of Green Bay. There are no houses or buildings across from our house, just a big field and some trees. We can see a pretty wide expanse of the horizon. Even from the ground we can see fireworks in the air from all the little towns up and down the shore. But up on the roof of our house we could also see over the trees and see Green Bay’s big fireworks’ show.

Tonight, around 9:30, after we returned home from a friend’s house the explosions and the fire in the sky was in fine form. The trees here have gotten pretty tall over the years and I am getting a little old for roof sitting so I thought I would just take a walk down our road and see what I could see.

What happened was very surprising and unexpected, I saw nature’s fireworks – fireflies.  Certainly not as many as I would see when I was a kid, but definitely Fireflies! So cool! There were about 10 to 20 all along the road in the ditch and the nearby field.

credit: Interpolations

credit: Interpolations

I haven’t seen fireflies in years. I had heard that pesticides and loss of habitat and light pollution have caused a great decline in their numbers. When I was a kid living in Chicago the night was filled with “glowworms” in July. My Dad would punch air holes in the lid of a jar for us and then my sister and I would run around, catch the fireflies and put them in the jar. It was our  little “lantern.”

credit: jamelah e./Flickr

credit: jamelah e./Flickr

So tonight, seeing those little lights flickering in the grass just brought all those memories back. It was just wonderful. But I hope catching all those fireflies wasn’t one of the causes of their decline, I don’t remember us letting them go.