The Garden In My Dreams #SOLC18 #PoetryFriday

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One of the images presented to participants in Laura Shovan‘s 6th Annual February Daily Poem Project (ekphrastic poetry this year) was this gorgeous watercolor and watercolor pencil painting, “Chinook, Hines Emerald Dragonfly, and Irises, endangered species,” a WIP, © 2017 by the uber-talented artist/writer/poet Michelle Kogan. (Warning: Her Etsy shop is irresistible!) When I first saw the painting I thought descriptive haiku would work best. But as the day wore on, and the longer I sat with the image, the more I began thinking of…

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…the garden in my dreams. This Japanese iris garden, complete with authentic lanterns, pagoda, and tea house, once graced the back lawn of a lovely home that belonged to my great-great grandfather in Milton, Massachusetts. Sadly the garden was lost over time and the house is no longer in my family, but the memories of the house and it’s garden live on in this one precious photograph and the stories passed down from generation to generation. Growing up, I was always intrigued by this image of the garden and it haunted my dreams often as a child. I’ve always been fascinated with all things Japanese, but I knew not why. I often wondered if somehow I had inherited this interest through my gene pool. Is that even possible?

In the end, the image inspired a reflective, dream-filled moment in time.

Iris Still Life

She dreamed of Japan
Savoring diary entries made on a journey taken oh so long ago
Examining with great care fragile treasures passed down
     through generations from father to son to son and now to daughter
Gazing at faded photos of an iris garden that once was,
     now lost to time – pagoda, tea house, bridged pond filled with koi
Imagining kimono-clad guests, illuminated by lanterns
     on warm summer evenings 
For now, she will paint iris and continue to dream


This post is part of the annual month-long Slice of Life writing challenge organized by Two Writing Teachers. Join us! It’s my second year of Slicing in the challenge. (If you want to take a peek at the Padlet of writing ideas I’ve created, I’m happy to share. Click here! It grows every day.) And it’s Poetry Friday, too. Linda is hosting over at Teacher Dance. I hope you’ll stop by there as well and enjoy her floral-themed offering.

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10 thoughts on “The Garden In My Dreams #SOLC18 #PoetryFriday

  1. I had an instant connection to your piece; my daughter lives and works in Japan, has done so for almost two years now. We visited for the first time when she was studying abroad in college; I can see why you are captivated by the culture! Your poem fits perfectly with the painting and the photo.


  2. Your words compliment the painting so well. And thank you for the link to the artist. I have an affinity for dragonflies so I’ll be checking this out!
    Oh and you gave me an idea to write a poem about a painting! Tomorrow’s post possibly?


  3. Michelle’s art is fabulous, I agree. I love hearing about your own memories linked to this painting, and you wrote them beautifully into your poem, Christie. Time travel is enticing to imagine, isn’t it?


  4. Love your poem and hearing about the enchanted Japanese garden. I can see why it’s captured your imagination and fascinated you all these years. It’s like you have your own secret garden :). Michelle’s painting is beautiful and your reflective poem complements it perfectly!


  5. Michelle’s watercolor is stunning, even in its unfinished state. I enjoyed your poem in February and enjoyed the detailed background. I am a big fan of family history, stories, keepsakes. I feel like they somehow give our roots anchors, like it is all part of knowing who I am.


  6. Now I know the backstory to your poem, Christie. I love both the poem and the story. What a wonderful February we had writing and reviewing others’ poems. I love seeing Michelle’s painting again too.


  7. I love the image of your great great grandfather’s garden, what a wonderful and meditative place it must have been. I would have enjoyed painting there. Your poem beautifully weaves in reminiscences of this garden and images of my painting, lovely Christie!


  8. Lovely art and a lovely poem. I’m glad for the chance to read it again and to learn more of your story behind it.


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