On Being a Sister to Trees

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day 29







                                      On Being a Sister to Trees

Long to sit, knees bent
beneath a tree
skin to bark,
listening as passing breezes
rustle overhead leaves.

Whispering bits of her story
of standing still,
always rooted in same place
yet more than willing to share, to learn
from passing strangers.

Birds, bees, insects, and squirrels,
sometimes a restless human like me,
willing to pass long moments
seeking to find what might be learned
from a tree.

Elizabeth Crawford 4/29/2019

Process Notes: Image is the first thing I tried to draw digitally using a brand new paint program. Thought it was time to bring it forward and let it breathe again. Many, many years ago, I defined myself as a Sister to Trees and a Maker of Stones. Used to make stones from polymer clay, carving words in them before putting them in oven to harden. Used them in my writing classes for starting points. The longing in that opening line is very real. My curved and shrinking spine, arthritic hips and knees, and swollen feet wouldn’t allow that luxury anymore. But there was a time when I sought it out and learned a great deal from the experience. That might have been the fresh oxygen trees provide to their surroundings, which I’d gladly partake of again.

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NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day 28


Two ships passing. Murmuring memories, whispers
of past lives adrift in waves of moving water.

Elizabeth Crawford 4/28/2019

Process Notes: Sherry wrote to an interesting prompt yesterday and it did two things. Made me think of this particular photo, I took at the huge bird sanctuary out near Bay Beach. And challenged the writer in me to attempt to do the same. The prompt was to use an image to create a two line painting very different from the presented picture, yet deepening the meaning of that original image. I took the photo because it emphasized the different proportions between the Pelican and the Canada Goose, not a small creature by any means. It always makes me think of a gleaming white yacht, pulling or passing a much smaller rowboat in its wake. That might have made a better painting, but the words sometimes have a whole different story they want or need to tell. And who am I to argue?

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Old But New

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day 27

Old But New

At seemingly advanced age
it is more than a bit hopeful
to know one can still
be anchored in throes
of constantly discovering
what one is in process
of becoming.

Can feel feathers of truth
gathered over time
slide in place like silken
gloves eager to find
more of their kind
to easily carry life further
than it has ever been.

And rich moist soil of a mind
reaching for light that means living,
one moment at a time.
More than willing to expand,
yet stands firm in owned beliefs,
while still eager to accept nurture
found in apples offered
by laughing dragons, and sometimes
even strangers.

Elizabeth Crawford 4/27/2019

Process Notes: Am beginning to feel the drain of writing a poem a day. As has become my present process, I went to my media file to find an image. However, the only one that even pulled at my attention was this one.

I had already been coloring for a while, using Mandalas for that activity, when a friend sent me a pack of new pens and a set of very different coloring images, created by a man sitting with his child through a long hospital stay and making something that might hold his child’s attention. This image strongly attracted me and I tried to use as many of my new coloring pens as possible. I titled it “Self-Portrait”, because it brought up so many memories from my childhood, and not necessarily good ones.

I wanted to make something else from it today. A different self-portrait that has to do with me now. And almost gave up at the very idea. But, Heth stepped in and said, “Little one, look at it with that other eye you szpoke of not long ago. Szee it sztanding alone, new and different.” Then moved away barely able to hide her smirking grin. And the words started coming. Slowly, but with some knowing of where they were going.

One can only be grateful for one’s dragon, even when she delights in feeding you your own words. https://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/2019/04/15/half-way/

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To Be or Not To Be Buoyant,

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day 26

To Be or Not To Be Buoyant

Definitely feel a lack
of commitment to this written
obligation I have tethered myself to.

Would far rather be out,
down by mouth of the river
watching Pelicans float.

Or flying in formal formation,
black hemmed white wings spread,
large straight beaks leading the way.

Instead, am tied by fast thinning thread
to unimaginable menagerie of words
with singular intent

to fly free, wings spread in formal formation,
they actually believe, I alone
might give them.


Elizabeth Crawford 4/26/2019

Process Notes: After first writing here, I often go to Facebook to read and say hi to friends. The last few days, have had a repeated advertisement pop up announcing a Master Class in reading and writing poetry, taught by former poet laureate Billy Collins.
Within the attached video, Collins speaks about the structure of a poem. How it begins with an undisclosed subject, and how the proceeding stanzas lead to the closing stanza, where that subject is revealed. In all my years of writing, reading, and teaching poetry, I had never heard such a succinct definition, and have spent some time wondering if I’ve ever knowingly written such a thing. This morning, as I roamed through my media files, the only image that really spoke to me was the pen and ink doodle that opens this post. It always reminds me of how loosely (?) I am seemingly tethered to my adventures of writing, color, words, and lines. And the words of that first stanza were written without hesitation because they were my truth in that moment. I really did wish to be elsewhere, especially down by the river, watching the pelicans, who are a symbol of incredible buoyancy. Only to have the words lead me directly, and knowingly, into the structure that Collins had described in the video. Got to love it when that happens. Final image is a photograph, taken by me, at the mouth of the river, with the Pelicans flying above.

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Wild Within

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day 25

Wild Within

Snowy Egret stalking still water
for needed nurture.
Aware of me and my need
to capture moment
of our mutual awareness.

Believe that somewhere within
must hold a bit of wildness,
a certain curiosity these wild creatures
recognize and find totally

How else to explain myriad encounters,
eye to eye contact, moments
of singular wonder and gratitude
shared with wild souls
such as this?

Elizabeth Crawford 4/25/2019

Process Notes: Definitely a result of the discussion after yesterday’s posting. Years ago, I read a book titled “Kin to All Life”, in which the author explained that we can talk to the animals we encounter, by projecting our thoughts in their direction. Our thoughts occur in picture form rather than spoken language. Out of curiosity, I tried it and was amazed to find myself in face to face encounters with hawks, a huge bald eagle, a restless tiger who separated herself from the group of her kind, to slowly wend her way around and up an incline at the zoo, coming directly to the thick glass where I was standing (holding my breath as she stood no more than a few feet in front of me). Wild deer, a few foxes, and once, a black wolf hunting a farmer’s field in Montana. I did write another poem about one such experience I shared with a friend who was wielding the camera, but was also aware of my own adventures, and chose to join in. It may be found here: https://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/moment-of-wonder/

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In Nest of Memory

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day 24

In Nest of Memory

Memories, like bits of stone, leaves,
and twigs sometimes wrestle
to find a permanent place
in which to nestle.

 Each owning a definitive face
separate from one another, yet all seeking
nurture from same, often exhausted
and harried mother.

Who, of an evening after settling
down, sings them a song
learned long ago, when she was no
more than a fledgling.

Elizabeth Crawford 4/24/2019

Process Notes: No more than bread crumbs stolen by a nest of fledglings seeking nurture. Having been away from any regular writing, I forgot how conceiving and making words knocks hard on the door of memory. The image is a pen and ink doodle with charcoal pencil shading, that was put through the kaleidoscope app. It always reminds me of a nest. Which was only the beginning. The nest then morphed into memories that, like baby birds fighting to get whatever nurture mother brings, then suggested the mother bird singing to settle them down. The song, by Sarah McLachlan, has been humming to me for days. Memories can easily fall through the cracks of a life lived at its surface. Pushing them down, or away, only means they will rise again and demand our attention. And writing will do that more quickly than any other activity I have ever engaged in. And yes, this is an interactive poem, incorporating many of the things I have encountered while doing this current NaPoWriMo. And is also suggesting a brief (hopefully) addition to that book I was putting together before deciding to do this daily writing.

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Healing of Memory

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day 23


Swept Away
Manipulated Pen & Ink Line Drawing
Elizabeth Crawford

Healing of Memory

Sometimes a muddied moment
emerges from murky waters
of memory.

Dried by brush of fingers
holding stiffened bristles
of remembering.

Cradle it close like small child
of a former self,
listen to its story.

Soothe its woe until it knows
it has been heard
and understood.

Show it how, over time,
one might come to grow, to learn
from its proffered lesson.

Elizabeth Crawford 4/23/2019

Process Notes: Memory has many functions. One of them is to show us where we might stop for a moment and seek to heal moments in which we might have been wounded. Moments in which we might have chosen a response that later becomes a block to our own progress. Had one of those moments yesterday. As soon as I saw this image today, the words began to form. I really didn’t want to go there, but the soul alone knows the path toward wholeness.

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