Hello. I’m Molly Fisk, Nevada County’s Inaugural Poet Laureate (April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018)
The Community Poem
Sandy Frizzell, the owner of Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters in Grass Valley, sponsored a community poem during National Poetry Month in April, painting a wall of her cafe with chalk paint and offering a free drink to those who wanted to contribute a line. Over four weeks, 23 community members wrote 25 lines, which I tweaked only slightly (taking out a line that wasn’t original, adding in a few commas, changing some words to avoid repetition, etc.). Here is the result: 11 three-line stanzas (they fold over a little bit on this website). Enjoy.
A Community Poem by Nevada County
(25 lines from 23 people over 4 weeks, reformatted slightly by Molly Fisk)
Waking to spring again, rain, then sun, coffee, the apple petals drifting down
into the soil, loamy and rich with the nutrients of lives lived, of sunshine and growth,
of warmth, of love.
Morning frost slicked in permanent standing gone again with the drifts of rain,
a testament to winter’s prowess and in the chill breeze, silken whispers
of winged creatures of beauty untouched.
Touching the beauty, being the beauty, flying through and into the other side of you,
embracing your exponential potential breath, your first true breath, become
your ideal reality while here I am, chalk in hand loosely,
laughing, lingering, languishing, longing for even more love and love it is,
here, forgotten then remembered, as this spring utters its deep fire again & again,
as does the body, the earth, for from her womb spring emerges,
time and again, an ancient wisdom to be observed and honored. Release your bliss
into this. Allow the wisdom to flower naturally from within. Unsprung,
sitting in statistics class my mind wanders to the probability of meeting me in you
having a standard deviation of -0.21, my mind is bound by thought and responsibility
until I realize I am alive, happy and more so with every bloom I see and smell
so I take myself to the river, blue green snow melt splashing and churning.
Were I but a pebble, gently tumbling downstream, the sun’s rays driving through clear, crisp water, illuminating my colors, the combined myriad drops of water each rushing past, each one muttering thoughts of clarity and love — the human tumult.
Here, there is only a moment, a breath to discover among the others, all different,
unique as the wind fingering the new grasses, fresh and bright
but in that moment, in that breath, there is life, springing, surging, bursting elated
from the ground up and no wailing on this wall, only the song of sparkling water
over river’s rocks. Don’t tell me that the sound of rushing water across fixed stones
is “white noise,” because what I hear is all blue,
and the blues… and feeling not so blue any more in this springtime green air.
So if you had eternity what’s the rush — everything’s cool, no need to shush.
I consign to the rush my chrysalis husk and emerge again with wings,
which the soft sun warms, flowing lifting, leaping… I fly!
the cracked carapace settles back into earth, its original place,
and in this first, best place: blessings, a little bit of heaven, right here, right now.
POEM-A-DAY PROJECT for Nevada County
Every day in April (National Poetry Month), I will be posting a prompt: some words and a photograph. Your job is to write a poem. You can use the prompt as the title, as some part of the subject, or ignore it entirely. I am a flexible Poet Laureate. I just want to nudge you in the direction of writing something, because creativity is good for our hearts, our minds, and our souls.
Here are the prompts. They’ll be posted reverse-chronologically. Have fun!
April 30: Write something to someone you love
April 29: The day after the party
April 28: How wild are you?
April 27: Describe the conversation
April 26: What kind of art do you like?
April 25: I think she’s going to Brazil that day.
April 24: Whatever it is, you can do it.
April 23: What’s your favorite color?
April 22: How do you take care of the earth?
April 21: Follow something to its conclusion
April 20: Did you know flowers emit invisible light?
April 19: When strange things come into view
April 18: Wide open spaces…
April 17: Would you rather go up or go down?
April 16: Easter bunny? Passover traditions? Ordinary Sunday?
April 15: What do you want to bet?
April 14: Comforting a friend
April 13: Tell us about your favorite body of water
April 12: What instrument do you play?
April 11: Write about living room chairs
April 10: What’s your relationship to the moon?
April 9: When the tree falls but the damage is minimal
April 8: Say something about beauty, pro or con
April 7: When the power goes out
April 5: Want to demolish anything?
April 3: Praising camouflage
April 2: In reflected light
April 1: Where are you going next?