Tuesday, February 21, 2012


"A Toad's reach should exceed her grasp," says Old Toad(Sherry), to Ella. Old Toad has had her eye on this poet and artist, for some time. Ella's life is a busy one, that of wife, mother and Girl Friday. She struggles to persevere with her art and writing. Her writing is in moments, snatched here and there between the demands of an active family.  Every now and then Ella sings a sad froggy song. She feels the need to make a leap beyond her lily pad, out in the Big World of Art. A frog who longs to fly. Don't ever tell her, it is anything, but possible. "If you can dream it, you can achieve it," is Old Toad's motto. When Old Toad was asked to choose someone in the pond, for a challenge, she thought of Ella. Ella has a blog of beauty, constantly changing it with photos, art, quotes and poetry. Old Toad's challenge was rather all-encompassing: "Ella, " she croaked, "write a poem based on a quote, that is meaningful to you.  It should touch upon your wish to follow your art, as far as it will lead you." Then Old Toad fell over onto her lily pad, for a little snooze.

When Sherry gave me this challenge, I was torn where to begin. The day I received her email I was looking for a quote about the ocean, for my blog. I found this one:

 "Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."~Andre Gide.

 His words spoke to me, my life. I wanted to look further, for the challenge. I went into my FROG(Furnished Room Over Garage) and grabbed an art book,"The Impressionists" by Corinne Graber and Jean-Francois Guillou.  I opened it at random onto page 152. This part of the book was about the artist Paul Cezanne.

 My eyes popped opened wide: "In 1900, Maurice Denis painted, "Hommage to Cezanne".  The painting was bought by Andre Gide. HUH?! I knew I had to find an Andre Gide quote that fit me. I felt serendipity had played a hand. The next day, I received an email that I had won an online class, it is for painting.

 Andre Gide was French, he grew up living a privileged life. He didn't need to work and ended up being a philanthropist, writer, and poet. Gide's life, like his work embraced many ambiguities. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1946; he won it in 1947.  I selected a quote,which I think speaks to the talent in all of us:

 "Be faithful to that which exists within yourself"~Andre Gide

Tonight as I was finishing up this challenge, I decided I needed some fresh air. My beagle, Buster also needed a walk. As he skipped along his favorite path, I kept thinking my poem was too simple. As we approached the STOP sign, I saw a shooting star. It lazily dropped, it's light bright and big cascading downward. I knew when I returned home I had to share what I had wrote. It didn't matter if it was simple, it's message was clear. We all need to listen and have faith in ourselves.

Evening walk 
enveloped in solitude
gray thoughts spiraling
serenaded in blue 
chilled, you look up to heaven's theater
a falling star make her debut
do you listen?

A dove glides her tilted wings
towards spring's silver threaded light
a bleached white feather 
flutters to your feet
do you listen?

Fair eyed daisies sway in meadow's brow
four leaf clover peers at you
 it bows and nods
a brisk shower
washes earth clean
watercolor view rises
do you listen?  

Along a pebbled beach
a rare pink shell glistens in the
 bay's blue tidal pool
it's tangled in seaweed 
and tiny snails
do you listen? 

Maple leaf stretches to bask in glory
red passion reaches for gold
her dismount twirls 
in graceful flair
 she lands
heart shape
do you listen?

Pristine cold lace falls gently
 on your lashes
iridescent geometry
6 sided perfection
no two
do you listen?

Listen to your grace
the strings
 of your heart
 sacred door
divine gifts
When you listen~


Mary said...

Very nice, Ella. So much to listen to with our ears and with our hearts!

Margaret said...

Will we listen? Our happiness in life... or perhaps I should say contentment - does rely on the choices we make. But many don't listen and struggle for years... if not their whole life. And thanks for the background on Cezanne and specifically Gide. Interesting!

Scarlet said...

Do we listen? Very beautiful words Ella. I like the nature images of the walk, the dove, leaf and shell. Very uplifting to read this busy morning ~

And thanks for sharing this ~

Kerry O'Connor said...

Thank you so much for this specially uplifting post. I certainly need to regain belief in my own particular purpose, caught up in the cycle of repetition, I find myself complaining all too often. Have I forgotten to listen?

Just superb thoughts to carry over to tomorrow so I can try a little harder to find me.

Unknown said...

Sherry is a clever one, isn't she? ;-)

And Ella... you confirm with this post what I truly believe ~ it is the simple things, noticed and appreciated, fully lived and enjoyed, that make up an exceptional life.

No such thing as "too simple." As artists and writers, we lose the integrity of the work when we strive for the esoteric, for complexity, rather than clarity.

LOVELY post today, ladies! Thank you!

Susie Clevenger said...

I don't listen as much as I should. I live in such a busy city that it swallows quiet moments. Thank you for your beautiful poetry. Nature is my tabernacle. I haven't spent enough time there over the last year.

Maude Lynn said...

Beautiful, Ella. I think that this is just perfect.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

HA! This is absolutely BEAUTIFUL, with a profound message, as I knew it would be. And what our members dont know is that you sought, listened, found and created this beauty in the midst of a week that would have felled ten strong sailors. Ella, stay true to your art. You have so many gifts. Your response to the challenge is EXACTLY what we all need to do: listen to the callings of our heart and be true to our gifts, whatever they are - I LOVE the falling star. And the end of the poem: WHEN you listen. This is an even more wonderful post than I anticipated. You could not have done it any better. You make Old Toad proud:)

Marian said...

oh ella, i just love this one. yes, stop, look, listen. experience. be in the moment. it's far too easy to forget.
the first stanza here is divine all on its own, the beautiful subtle rhyming is affecting. nice!

Mary Ann Potter said...

Profound and challenging - and very, very beautiful! May we never forget the importance of the simple; it speaks more eloquently than anything else. You have given voice to it in such a special way.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Back for another read. My favorite? "The hymn of you will play when you listen." Sigh. Just perfect.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Just wanted to tell you, Ella, I had a parent-teacher conference this evening, and I decided to lead with the words: I am here to listen to you.

It went very well :)

Unknown said...

Beautiful! I think the older we get, the more we listen ;-)

Ella said...

Thanks to Wise Toad for the unique prompt! I'm humbled by her wisdom n' magic! Thank you Sherry @>-----

I have to confess,lol my daughter laughed out loud when I read my poem to her. She was watching reruns of a TV sitcom, Frasier. For those who aren't familiar, it is a show about a Radio shrink. His byline is: I'm listening...
I had written the poem a few days ago. TV was off, no one home, but me. She thought it was fun, listen ended up in my poem. I think it was more than a happy accident ;D

Thank you everyone for your kind comments!

Kerry, I loved that you started your meeting, in this way. How powerful listening truly is, for all involved~

Kay L. Davies said...

Sherry is indeed a wise old toad. You, however, my dear, are a wise young toad to listen!
I love that the word "listen" came to you, to your daughter, to Kerry, and perhaps to more of us, more than we will ever know.
Keep listening, young toad, and wisdom will be yours to pass along to the world through your art.
Luv, K

hedgewitch said...

This was a lovely piece, Ella(and Sherry.) I enjoyed both the introduction and the Gide bio and quotes, and the poem, which makes a point we all so easily forget--almost everyone would rather talk than listen, but the listeners are the riches among us. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Ah, beautiful in its simplicity - you could almost subtitle the poem (boringly, I know) 'lessons from nature'... but then, your title already suggests that with a single word. Exquisite imagery throughout, Ella - and I love the different shapes too.

Herotomost said...

I'm listening to you, thats for sure. Sometimes we have to be reminded just how beautiful the entire universe is....that was some serious Tuesday deliciousness.

Ella said...

Herotomost-I love your name :D
I'm glad you are listening! Thank you so much~

Turtlememoir-Thank you, yes nature does give us a lot of gifts. We just need to pay attention. I mean listen ;D

Hedgewitch-So glad are part of the group! Thank you! Sherry really found a good way to tie in all that I love. It also reminds me to listen more~

Kay-Thank you! Yes, Sherry is very wise :D I think it is wonderful we all can share our wisdom through blogging! We are listening in an unique way ;D (((hugs)))

WinterWrites-I think that is a lovely concept! I so hope you are right~ Thank you :D

Kerry-This was beautiful! I am so glad you shared. It is priceless gift~ @>----

Sherry-Thank you ;D You are so filled with magic~

Mary Ann-Thank you! I think we as poets, listen maybe more than most~
And see things with different lens!

Marian-Thank you! I know I kind of wonder if I should have been more lyrical. It didn't go that way~ The message is simple, but also sometimes hard to do!

Sherry-You are kind! Okay, maybe 3 sailor ;D Seeing the star fall was magical. I knew I had to run home and finish and thought of how to change the ending. Glad I listened! xo

Mama Zen-Thank you; I wish you could of seen this star! Amazing is the best way to describe it :D
(my photo is of a Christmas ornament ;D)

Susie-YOU need a few nature walks, then you will be find! Time out in nature is one of my best cures, for creative lapses. I so hope you get a chance to go, soon! Thank you!

Kim-Thank you! Sherry is a clever one :D It was unique and special how it all came together~ Yes, a life as you described is truly beautiful~ I hope we all moments like these!

Kerry-I think we all need to be reminded at times. I, too have grumbled too much lately. This prompt reminded me to see more clearly and respect the voice I hear. I need to listen to my intuition, my muse, and my heart. Thank you~

Heaven-Thank you, I thought as poets we could all relate to nature's gifts :D

Margaret-I agree, I think a lot of people dismiss that inner voice! It is sad~ I think we all struggle at times, but maybe listening will help!

Mary-Beautifully said! Yes, we have to choose to listen more~ :D

tony said...

Great Post! 'Sadly True That We Often Have More Faith In Others Than In Ourself.