Featured Poem: If You Have Ever Loved to Dance

 

Janet Fagal
Central New York Branch

 

You never forget the feeling.
The joy of suppleness and strength,
of spins and twirls, and the appearance of floating.
Perhaps you have danced ballet.
Been the Sugar Plum Fairy at a tender age
in a children’s play,
danced in a Rockettes-style majorette troupe,
performed at a World’s Fair, in parades or on stage.

 

Maybe you have tapped your way to joy. Felt the power
of your toes and heels, calves and thighs,
clicking up and down the stairs,
arms marking the cadence, adding zest to the scene.
Folk-danced for fun with friends from all over the world,
tried modern jazz, ballroom, hip hop.
Delighted in the oneness of music and movement,
whole body in use, on display, speaking from every cell of your being.
Mind counting the beat, remembering the steps.
The exhilaration of the dance, the beauty of classical or modern,
seen in strong, toned bodies, able to stretch and bend as required.
Clothed in vibrant or gossamer costumes,
sending a message about art. Creativity. Life.

 

Dance needs big spaces, time to practice,
dedication to exactness and extension.
The dancer so fit, combining grace, determination, flow, rhythm.
If you have ever loved to dance, it never leaves you,
even though you may leave it.
If you have ever loved to dance and you are old,
replaying it in your mind
is bittersweet tucked in between the joy.

 

This poem was Inspired by Suzanne Beason’s painting “Replaying the Dance, 2017,” which juried into the Schweinfurth Art Center, Auburn, NY: 2018 Made in New York show. The NLAPW Central New York Branch participated in an ekphrastic event where our new creations were inspired by the art on display.

Featured Poem: My Monet

Barb Whitmarsh
Bayou City II, Texas

 

(To Dad)

 

He will always be my Monet
My tired-eyed yet dutiful father
All of his paintings
Are emblazoned on my mind
Hanging on the walls of my heart
-I claim them all-
By virtue of my memories
Of every brushstroke
And resistant signature
That defined his uniqueness
Perhaps he thought I
Didn’t take his painting seriously enough
-But I did –
I admired every application of his sable brushes
That transformed paint into life
And if and when we meet again one day
I’ll reassure him with the words
“Dad, you always were and will be
My Monet.”

 

Featured Art: The Potato Chip Wars — Call to Battle

Mara-Levin-The-Potato-Chip-Wars-Call-to-Battle,-oil-on-cradled-birch-panel,-20-x16

The Potato Chip Wars: Call to Battle by Mara E. Levin; Wellesley Branch, Massachusetts 

Oil on cradled birch panel, 20 by 16 inches

www.maralevin.com

 

Mara E. Levin is a fine artist, graphic designer, illustrator, and art educator. She studied with modern masters including Congor Metcalf, Lloyd Lillie, David Aaronson, David Ratner, and Nick Edmunds while earning her bachelor of fine arts degree from Boston University. Her subjects include landscape, cityscape, still life, the figure, and portraiture. She is also deeply interested in studio methods and materials, frequently experimenting with new mediums and techniques, and often constructing and finishing her own painting supports.

Artist statement

This painting is from my series, The Potato Chip Wars, painted from photographs I took at the popular Horseneck Beach in Westport, Massachusetts. The bugler calls the avian troops to assemble for the next battle. Or is he issuing a challenge?
This peaceful scene, the first of the series, is marked by the shimmering beauty of nature and the day. It evokes the calm before the stormy fight for chips.

Featured Poem: Ancestors

 

Donna Puglisi
Cape Canaveral Branch

 

They came from the shores of foreign lands to a new world, a new life.
Their dreams are our dreams.
These are our ancestors.

 

I stare at the old faded pictures of my ancestors in jagged frames,
wondering who they were in younger years.
Who did you love on a summer day?
Where did you go as a child at play?
Now, your faces are a ghostly hue,
Frozen in time, I don’t know you.

 

Each tiny stitch,
Life’s thoughts, words and deeds,
Through the years you’ve threaded your lives,
with satins, silks and tweeds.

 

Embroidered in rich tapestry, a diary of your life,
How did you meet your loved one,
becoming man and wife?
Finest lace frames grandma’s face,
Rough hewn, her burlap years;
Did you cry on your pillow at night,
then wash away your tears?
Hopes and dreams line the seams with promises yet kept,
Young girl’s loves and broken hearts,
Stained velvet where you wept.
Bright colors blending here and there with laughter, love and friends,
Am I like you in any way? The pattern never ends.

 

We are all a part of them,
They are the blood flowing through our veins;
We blend as one, from those faraway lands,
Our ancestors belong to all of us.

 

Rebellious, rugged, raw,
Beautiful in simplicity.
Faces burned like summer’s grass, craggy and rough as the majestic mountains. Rough temperament, resilient as the boundless hills of wheat.

 

Respect them.
They are our ancestors.

 

A suitcase frayed and soiled,
Hopeful, adventurous heart.
The peddler and the farmer,
Seeking a fresh new start.
Calloused hands of a blacksmith,
Old country’s mud and dirt still clinging to the tattered hem
of a woman’s long black skirt.

 

Ragged suits, scuffed shoes adorn the staunch and sturdy,
Weary travelers in stormy seas,
They are our families.

 

We are all brothers and sisters, sharing the same timeless legacies

 

Of our ancestors.

 

Featured Art: Shawme Pond Swans

Kathryn-Kleekamp-Shawme-Pond-Swans

“Shawme Pond Swans” by Kathryn Kleekamp, Cape Cod Branch

Oil on Canvas, 9 by 12 inches 

www.SandwichArt.com

 

The story behind “Shawme Pond Swans,” in the artist’s own words:

 

 I live on Shawme Pond in Sandwich, Massachusetts. I’ve delighted in the annual event of watching our resident pair of swans build their nest while the air is still cool in early spring. The first sighting of the tiny new cygnets is usually around Mother’s Day.

Two years ago, the swans had a beautiful family of eight babies, right on schedule. Unfortunately, nature is not always kind. Our pond has many predators — snapping turtles, coyotes, raccoons, and owls. One by one, the number of cygnets diminished. However, several weeks later, I was relieved to see the pen (female swan) once again sitting on her nest.

This second nesting time seemed particularly long. I watched the pen, day after day, in rain and wind, patiently sitting on her nest, denying herself feedings and baths. My heart was deeply touched at her unwearied care. Happily, once again she had a clutch — this time, six cygnets.

A week or so later, when she and her mate came to the shore to visit, they were alone. I knew the devoted pair would never leave their little ones and once again, I was heartbroken. I can’t begin to express my agony over this second cruel blow.

As they glided closer to shore, however, the pen opened her wings and I saw a beautiful cluster of tiny, gray heads tucked in together on her back. In an instant, my tears were those of great joy and happy relief. I raced into the house to get my camera. This oil painting is from one of the photos I took that morning, happily catching the last hesitant cygnet still on mom’s back.

—Kathryn Kleekamp

P.S. Out of the six, five cygnets grew to adulthood and were quite breathtaking to see as they flew away to find a new home together.

 

Featured Poem: Re-gifting

Rose Baldwin
Palm Springs Branch, California

 

The book was on a list
of poetry to read
of course I bought a copy
of such a famous screed

 

I gave it to my sister
she gave it to a friend
who gave it to her mother
who gave it back again

 

I gave it to the library
to lend and lend and lend
they sold in a bargain bag
I had it back again

 

I gave it to Goodwill
a bargain hunter there
scooped it off the shelf
then put it out to share

 

Susie picked it up from there
and she gave it to Lee
who gave it to his brother
who gave it back to me

 

Finally, I read it
the words were like a balm
stroking all my soft spots
rhythmic like a song

 

So touched was I, I said,
I have a real fine gift here
I wrapped it in nice paper
and gave it to my sister

 

Call for Art!

Active, associate and allied art professionals, you are invited to submit your work for publication in the Pen Woman and on the NLAPW website!

There is no submission fee, no deadline, and no limit to how often you may submit.

I cannot promise that your work will be published, but all submissions will receive serious consideration. All submissions will also be considered for the cover of the magazine.

We have the following opportunities for art members:

  • Featured Art on the NLAPW website (with or without a short article)
  • “In the Studio” article focusing on your process, accompanied by a few photos of work in progress and completed work.
  • Short article (with photo) about an individual piece of work.
  • Longer article (with photos) about a body of work, or your personal artistic journey or inspiration.

To submit:

Select your best work and email low-resolution digital images to arteditor@nlapw.org.  

I will request larger, high-resolution files if we decide to publish your work, and will provide help with writing articles, if needed.

In your email, please include:

  1.   Your name
  2.   Branch (please note: we can only feature the work of current members)
  3.   Your website URL
  4.   Image title, medium, size
  5.   A very brief statement about yourself and the artwork
  6. An article, if you are submitting one

If you have any questions, please email me at arteditor@nlapw.org. I’ll be glad to help.

By submitting your art to NLAPW, you give us permission to display your published work online at nlapw.org for the purpose of promoting NLAPW and our members.

Best wishes to you,

Lucy Arnold, Golden Gate-Marin Branch
NLAPW Art Editor

Featured Poem: The Making of a Widow

Mimi Paris
Boca Raton

 

The Emergency Room
numbers on the screen
keep on going down.
I head for the nurse.
She’s talking, laughing.

 

I tell her, “Look!”
Her face shows fear.
My heart beats fast
and I run back.

 

Stuff rolls in,
Lots of staff.
Room is packed.

 

Shouts heard:
“Try again!”

 

“Gone.”

 

Featured Art: Backyard Sunrise

"Backyard Sunset" painting by Lisa Rose

“Backyard Sunrise” by Lisa Rose, Vero Beach Branch (Florida)

18 H x 24 W soft pastel

“Backyard Sunrise” was created from an actual sunrise seen from the artist’s backyard in Vero Beach, Florida.

Lisa Rose studied design and environmental analysis at Cornell University and enjoyed a career of over 30 years as a residential interior designer. She gained national attention with features in prestigious publications including House Beautiful, House Beautiful Home Decorating, Florida Design, Interior Design, Maison Française, and Cosmopolitan. 

 

 

She was recently introduced to soft pastels and became inspired by the beauty of the natural landscape. This led to the creation of her first pieces with a delicate blend of representational art and a bit of abstraction.

Lisa Rose’s artwork can be viewed at www.lisaroseart.com.

 

 

Featured Poem: Plant

Lorraine Walker Williams
Southwest Florida Branch

 

To place, slip seeds into moist soil,
shutter from light, incubate and wait.
To plant is the first lesson in patience.

 

Plant, as a particular phylum and
species, ornamental, cleansing air,
bringing outdoors in. For Feng Shui,
a plant is a lesson in placement.

 

Plant, as in yourself on the couch,
a park bench, or a bumpy bus.
An attempt to be rooted in time and
space, a lesson in belonging.

 

Plant, an implant, something foreign,
a replacement or enhancement,
as in tooth or breast. This teaches
impermanence.

 

Plant includes the word plan—
Making and revising,
following or ignoring a plan,
a lesson in flexibility.

 

Plant words flowing and growing
from the hand of a poet,
the lesson of jasmine and plums.