Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Fifth Annual Poetry Festival in Belfast, Maine

"Hermit Thrush" an altered book by Maine artist Abbie Read created for the following poem by Jonathan Skinner

Hermit Thrush


am I sending

am I receiving

earth tunes tinkle

or really lighted

two tiny teeth

for all we know

could be lounging

eat my peanuts

wind in leaves

or in needles

come for shelter

insects are bright

did you notice

what has happened

now farther

or earlier

do not put

politics aside

in the silence

your voice is heard

practice the deep

clean listening

he chirps delight

sculpting the spaces

let me stay put

I might face this

studied insightful

debating places

flowering lichen

contingencies stay

around for awhile

why travel when

you can travel

star shaped flower

abundant reminder

dangerous delight

forces of blindness

places where speech

brightens the dark

too much feeling

or not enough

hummingbird feeder

or what you will


Jonathan Skinner

Bowdoinham, Maine

"Black and White" altered book byAbbie Read

"Shadows" by calligrapher and book artist Jan Owen, full image above and detail below to show Jan's beautiful calligraphy and how Jan weaves paper designs throughout the artwork

Here is a beautiful and emotional poem by Helen S. M. Tirone from Freedom Maine, she and Jan collaborated for the festival but I choose a poem that had not been illustrated because it is so beautiful and hauntingl....

the woods are still as death

every leaf that has fallen settled

as if it will never move again

not a breath of wind stirs

the copper colored floor

and dark hemlock boughs

stir without asking

through thick, gray silence

today they said the cancer

has spread again

the entire spine decaying

and I imagine the x-ray

the one they saw together

to look like the first fallen

snowflakes on wet black

rock in late November

a bird calls once, the stillness

broken like a stone through glass

and then again, and you think

you can not bear what follows

the emptiness of quiet


Helen S. M. Tirone

Freedom, Maine

You can see the exhibition of all of Jan's, Abbie's, Helen's and Jonathan"s work at Belfast Free Library...not sure how long it will be up, you may want to call first and check.

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