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I did go to Longfellow Elementary...

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

and as the creepy boys in sixth grade loved to chant, "She's not a poet, but her feet show it-they're longfellows."

Was that bullying? I was well on my way to Size 10 in 6th grade.

I'm not a poet. Don't read poetry. At least I haven't until recently. House isolation, or moderate house isolation, has brought poetry into my life.

It began with another Master Class, the Mother's Day gift from my daughter, Jamie.

This one featured Billy Collins, US Poet Laureate, 2001 to 2003. Dubbed “the most popular poet in America” in the New York Times, he is famous for conversational, witty poems that welcome readers with humor but often slip into quirky, tender, or profound observation on the everyday, reading and writing, and poetry itself.

Wait. You can write poems about ordinary, everyday things?

Yep. This is one of the takeaways I got from Mr. Collins. I'm a new fan. I especially loved The Lanyard and The Death of the Hat. My mom, my dad, my many memories evoked.

Part of my lean-in to poems is that I am anticipating attending Calvin's (Grandson #1) graduation from Amherst College in Massachusetts in May.

Okay, maybe I'm jumping the gun. But with my hopeful visit to Emily Dickinson's birthplace and home, I decided to take a deep dive into her poetry.

Chris, my total Texas storytelling, writing buddy, urged me on. I particularly loved the playful I'm Nobody, Who Are you?

And even more circling, Collins wrote an extraordinary poem about the Amherst native titled Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes.

I was moved to write a poem. Turns out they don't have to rhyme these days. Who knew? Armed with that knowledge from my master class on poetry and the affirmation that I could write a poem about some ordinary, I picked orange.

And just as I was ready to put my orange poem out there, I was involved in the passing tour of docent trainee, Doug McMinimy, (and accomplihsed photographer) at The San Diego Museum of Art.

Hard to convey how magical and engaging Doug's passing tour of 20th Century Art was, a very difficult accomplishment via Zoom.

OMG, his tour was brilliant. And, he ended with everybody's favorite painting, Caged Pie by California master, Wayne Thibeau.

Wayne Thiebaud Caged Pie 1962, Oil on canvas

Even more magical, Doug charmed us all by introducing everybody's favorite dessert painting with a haiku for our times:

Prima Donna Pie.

Spotlight kisses crayola colors.

Socially distanced dessert.

So here I am, following extraordinary examples of poetry with a sort of rambling prose remembrance of my Summer of Orange.

Summer of orange

Valencias outside my window

Fruit of inspiration

Fragrance swirling in the air

My book in blossom

Everything orange

Days of summer orange

Gauzy ribbon bows

Book gifts

Orange cupcakes, nectarous treat

Doll house orchard

Everything is orange

Summer nights turn orange

Sun pales deep in the west

Monet’s Impression Sunrise, morning luminescence

Delicate day lilies

Brighten the day for a hummingbird and me

Surrounded by orange

Summertime, the livin’ is orange

Blossoms on paper umbrella

Succulent slices on my morning plate

Fragrant bouquet of scented candle

Sugared-coated candy, sip of juice

My world orange

Alone, summer of orange

Oil painting, bold expressive oranges

On book’s cover

Bookmark save the page

Book on the table

Orange everywhere I look

Summer orange is lovely

My daughter’s dress,

A hint of gloss, a whiff of cologne

Piquant pages of book

Orange uplifts me, wraps me in warmth

Alone this summer of orange

This season of orange

Finds me quiet, slowed down

Immersed in solitude’s nectar

When light is right, shadows long,

Sky cast with soft radiance

Orange afterglow watercolor washes my summer

What color is your summer?

Cash Blake Gardner Woods


Now adding poetry to your growing list of artistic accomplishments! I too admire Billy Collins, and you might want to look up some poems by Naomi Shihab Nye, who lives in San Antonio. She's another who captures the ordinary in extraordinary ways. DI

Love, love, love the poem.  Wrapped in the warmth of orange! SB

Love it.

Appreciate how effectively you carried your theme repetitively.

Clever lady !! Dale

Love this one Marilyn!! Sending you an orange sunset from Laguna. Miss you, Anne

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You are amazing, what a great piece!


Beautiful, Marilyn. Yesterday's first taste was a juicy orange, today's was another few pages in your gorgeous book when I awoke before dawn but wasn't ready to enter the world. I entered yours instead. Yes, to poetry.


Aug 02, 2020

I, too, am a fan of Billy Collins and a fan of yours. My color is purple, the color of royalty and the deep argamon that comes from a shellfish for the fringes of the talit I wear when I pray. The scent of lavender and the rainbow hues of the shades of purple comfort me. That's the color of my summer, and has been for most of my life. I think I'll write a poem about it. Maybe we can do a 'color' chapbook one of these days, a multi-colored take on the world.

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