Lent Conversation — Conclusion

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Here, on Good Friday, the last day of Lent, Laurel and I conclude our Lenten conversation with one more poem and image.

Laurel’s poem prompt, “Quicken,” articulates the restless dissatisfaction and the sense of “dare I hope that things can be different?” characteristic of us in our human state. Those feelings have only been amplified by the strangeness of the past year and its restrictions, imposed because of the pandemic.

Quicken

I’ll bring
my unsettled,
uncentered self, to you.
This week it’s all ‘the holy’ I have.
Emotions scattered,
resolves shattered,
not because of anything,
it’s just well, everything, and
I don’t want it to go back
to the way it was. Not entirely. There.
I said it. Whispered it
our into your silence.

Can this atom of, I don’t know – hope?
be enough for you to split
and quicken me back to life?

© 2021 Laurel Archer – all rights reserved

The word “split” in Laurel’s poem opened the visual door for me. I thought of the way a germinating seed splits to let out new life. But in the process it dies. Yes, that too is part of the gospel message–a part that makes this dark Friday “good.”:

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” – John 12:24 NKJV.

In the end, I opted to portray a bulb instead of a grain of wheat, with a sprout that has just split open its white shroud.

“Hope” – Violet Nesdoly © 2021
Pen and watercolour on 140 lb. watercolour paper, 9×6 inches.

So, Lent is past. But stay tuned. Easter is just around the corner!

A Lent Conversation – Week 6

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We are in the season of feasts—Passover and Easter. Isn’t it wonderful that God instituted landmark feasts—meals of special food filled with the ingredients, tastes, colours, and smells that bring spiritual realities to mind?

As we’ve been reading through the Gospels at our supper table, I was moved a few weeks ago when we came to Mark 14 where Jesus told his disciples to prepare the feast (the Passover) that we now call “The Last Supper.” It made me smile to think of this assorted crew doing kitchen duty. My thought was to create a sort of still life of the supplies for the Passover meal gathered on a counter after a shopping trip. That is the inspiration for “Prepare the Feast.”

Laurel responded to my art prompt by taking it home, literally, with her poem “Do This” about the wonderful meals of remembrance that we’ve all experienced—weighty with spiritual and emotional significance. Because of pandemic restrictions, we’ll miss eating an Easter meal with our loved ones this year. It has made us appreciate such memorable occasions all the more.

A Lent Conversation – Week 5

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Is God involved in the tiniest details of our lives? I think so.

It was Laurel’s turn to start the conversation this week with a poem. When I hadn’t heard from her by last Tuesday, I emailed and asked if she had a poem for the week. It turned out she thought she had sent it, and promptly did.

When I read “Still Life,” I thought immediately that something simple, like a pencil sketch, would suit Laurel’s humble expression of faith. The thing was, I had done a couple of pencil sketches the very night before. The clincher that my sketches were the right response to her poem—she speaks of light in her poem, and one of the things I happened to sketch was a light bulb!  

I challenge you—be on the lookout to notice how God is making His presence known to you in the details of your day!

“Still Life” – poem by Laurel Archer © 2021

Light bulb, staple remover and a jar of shells and floats – sketches by Violet Nesdoly (in 5×8 inch Artist’s Loft Sketchbook) – © 2021

A Lent Conversation – Week 4

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I can hardly believe we’re already into week four of our Lent project. This week I sent Laurel the prompt–a painting I did, inspired by a photo I took on a summer holiday trip we made to Salt Spring Island some years ago.

I love her psalm-like prayer poem in response.

My painting and the Laurel’s poem are below.

Painting: “The Lookout” – Violet Nesdoly – Watercolor on 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper, 9×12 inches © 2021.

Poem: “Open-Air Prayer” – Laurel Archer © 2021

A Lent Conversation – Week 3

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The poem that Laurel sent me as an art prompt for Week 3 made me so happy. I love spring and one of its most compelling signs is the bird symphony and activity we hear and see on our daily walks on Nicomekl Trail, a footpath that follows the Nicomekl River. I love how Laurel pivoted her poem’s friskiness into a theme appropriate for Lent.

I had no problem coming up with an image for this one!

A Lent Conversation – Week 2

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This is the second instalment of a Lenten conversation between Laurel Archer, my poet friend, and me providing some art. This week I sent Laurel a painting as a prompt. She responded with a poem.

The Hellebore plant was new to me when I moved to the coast (we didn’t have it in Saskatchewan, at least not when I lived there). This beautiful perennial blooms here in early to late spring with blooms that customarily face downward. It’s a plant that, even in bloom, looks penitent. Perhaps that’s why it was given its common name “Lenten Rose.”

I’m delighted with Laurel’s poetic response that reflects her experience with this lovely spring flower and takes us deeper.

Painting: “Lenten Rose” – © 2021 by Violet Nesdoly, Watercolour on 140 lb. cold press watercolour paper, 9×12 inches

Poem: “Promises” – © 2021 by Laurel Archer

A Lent Conversation

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Do you keep Lent? Lent is a church season—a time of sober introspection in preparation for Easter—that my faith tradition mentioned only in passing. But I do love the idea of a faith calendar where one remembers and honours each season of faith at a set time each year.

In the spirit of discovering, appreciating, and “keeping” the season of Lent, a friend and I have begun a conversation about Lent in poetry and art. She began it last Tuesday with a poem that she sent to me. I responded during the week with a piece of art inspired by her poem. This is our call-and-response for Week One of Lent.

Laurel’s Poem: “Lent is Here”
My painting: “Step Aside” – Watercolour and Gouache on 140 lb. Cold Press Watercolour Paper, 9×6 Inches.

This week it’s my turn to prompt Laurel with a piece of art. I’ll let you in on the next bit of our conversation sometime early next week.

I’d be interested to know, how do you keep Lent?

Poetry Swap Pocket

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Summer+Poetry+Swap-1My last Summer 2017 Poetry Swap parcel arrived this week and I was quite bowled over by it. Linda Baie sure knows how to pack a lot of goodies into a little bubble mailer!

She sent me—a pocket! How perfect for a habitual walker who is always grabbing for a tissue or a notebook or a camera out of her pocket!

This pocket was packed with: a personal note, a notebook, a Pilot pen (even the brand name seems perfect), mints, a (real cloth embroidered) hankie, a couple of pine cones along with a legend about them (perfect to entertain my grands!), a piece of petrified wood, a poem bookmark, and the most darling little black feather you ever saw!

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Pocket treasures from Linda B. – Summer 2017 Poetry Swap (Photo by V. Nesdoly)

And this poem… (Linda, you are amazing! – Thank you!!)

Pocket-LindaB

Linda, you’ve tied it up perfectly with those last five lines: “doing art … gathering bouquets of images … a crystal vase of ideas.” I’m totally inspired!

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poetryfridayThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by poet and photographer Jone at Check It Out.

There, Jone challenges us to an Acrostic. Well, I just happen to have one in my Summer Shorts (poem-a-day photo-challenge project). It’s all about the PRODUCE (the August 3rd #CY365 prompt)

Produce

Photo for “Produce – #CY365 for August 3, 2017 (© 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

PRODUCE

Parsnip, turnip, bok choy
Rutabaga, beet
Orange carrots in a row
Daikon long and white
Under produce mirror-bin
Cabbage doubles round and green–those
Egos swell as veggies preen

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Wanderlust (poem swap edition)

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What’s second-best to Christmas? A parcel from the post-person during summer poem swap season, of course!

When I opened my front door after a summons by the bell on Monday, there was no one there. But there was an intriguing white package propped against the doorframe—poem swap goodies from Irene Latham!

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The Car and the car! (Summer poem swap 2017)

The parcel had in it a coloring sheet, perfectly in sync with my 2017 one-little-word “Listen,” a book, The Car, by Gary Paulsen, an actual car—a tiny metal roadster complete with two seats and a transparent front window (cutest thing you ever saw), and this poem…

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I love everything in this poem swap parcel but my favorite item is the poem. It reminds me of the summer and fall way back, when I and a couple of friends spent four months backpacking around Great Britain and the Continent. (Yes, that’s what we boomers did in the 70s; we called it the “Europe cure.”) For two of those months we rode the trains, crisscrossing Europe on a Eurail Pass.

Irene’s got it exactly right. The train cubicle, your pack, the hostel are your whole world—bed, dining room, office, garbage can… The sky is the only constant. And you begin to feel like a creased old map, up for any destination, knowledgeable, wise, and invincible.

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poetryfridayThis poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Linda Mitchell at her blog A Word Edgewise where a poetry prompt auction is going on!

A poem about my name!

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It’s a real treat to get anything by snail mail these days. When that envelope in the mail contains a poem, that’s a double treat. When that poem is from our own Tabatha Yeatts and it celebrates one’s own name, that’s a treat in multiples!

Tabatha sent me this poem about violets for round one of the summer poem swap. I learned history about my name that I never knew (and was inspired to be a better violet.)

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Violets (Image: Pixabay)

violet poem

Thank you, Tabatha, for organizing this summer poem swap, and for composing and sending this treasure!

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poetryfridayThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link.

Next week the round-up is hosted by Tabatha Yeatts. In honour of National Macaroni and Cheese Day on July 14th, next week’s roundup will have an optional Mac-N-Cheese theme (I’m drooling already)!