Of Things That Have Been – Guest Post: Holly Grantham

What an honor to have my friend Holly Grantham visiting today. I invited her to bring her words. And she graciously said yes. Holly and I have enjoyed working as poetry partners in the past. You may recall our project entitled Adagio.

We have plans to collaborate after the first of the new year, writing poetry, sharing the lines and space, creating and word weaving together.

Enjoy now, the words of this beautiful woman..

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Of Things That Have Been

I finger them mindlessly most days,
These tokens of thanksgiving.
In some familiar corner of my brain I am
aware of their weight and
the anorexic string that
keeps them connected to a well
untended.
But something has shifted
inside of me and
I can’t remember
how to see.

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I have a bowl that sits on my kitchen counter
and in it are the scraps and corners and pieces of
meals prepared and cooked and fed to
the people that I love.
The contents of that bowl get tossed,
mindlessly most days,
into a growling pile of dirt.
Layer upon layer of repasts
Just sitting there
Marinating
Giving themselves over to death.

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Most days since Spring
I feel a hollow ringing somewhere just
below my rib cage
as if my heart was suddenly deafened by
the weighted silence left in absence’s wake.
I long to be overwhelmed by wonder.
And then, one day, the memory, it returns
Joy, it grows in the humus of things that have been,
in the layers that settle at the bottom of my days.
I remember slowly
how to give thanks.
I remember, friends, how to see.

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Holly Grantham, Bio

Holly is a wife, very relaxed homeschooling mom of three boys, snapper of photos, coming of age writer and a soul drowning in grace.

After years in Atlanta where she attended college, married the love of her life and lived in an intentional community, she found her way back to her home state of Missouri. She now lives in an antebellum stone house, raises chickens (sometimes) and pretends she lives in the country.

Holly may be found at her writing home A Lifetime of Days, on twitter @HollyAGrantham &
on her  facebook  writer page.  

Here – A Guest Post, A Poem, Holly A. Grantham

 

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I am honored to have my poet friend Holly Grantham guest posting here today. She and I have been friends through poetry, writing and blogging and have even partnered together on a poetry series entitled Adagio: A Poetry Project. Holly and I played with words on the page from miles upon miles apart, penning three poems. (The offerings in this series may be found at the end of Holly’s guest post). While the project is on a pause of sorts, Holly’s words continue to bring me joy. She is an artist and crafts beautiful poetic prose and poetry.

In her poem entitled Here, Holly’s words sing of her unique perspective on this life. And yet we hear, feel and even crawl into the space Holly inhabits. Holly invites. She delights. And her art is extraordinarily crafted.

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Here

I’m cooking dinner and
only because the days are getting longer
does the light still filter in
through the clouded window that
needs replacing
The pane is nearly opaque
but not muddled enough
to keep my eye from catching
the fluttering of a bird at the feeder
repositioning himself
to find more seed

While I cut broccoli
the baby sits on the counter
flapping his arms
like the bird outside
screeching with glee
drool dripping like honey
from his mouth
the bud of a tooth peeking
out from swollen gums

I set down the knife
and sip my wine in the pause
while through the tilted glass I can see
the edges of the room stained
crimson and swirling
catching light
glowing

Floating atop the life noise
clattering within these walls
a quiet song sways with being here
now
and I freeze
because something down deep
is stirred and righted
and in a twinkling the words of
Buechner that I read earlier today are
tangible and throbbing
framing the moment
as miracle

I’m remembering now
how every morning
glory pools in my lap while I’m
nursing my babe
legs crossed and warm
eyes still drowsy with sleep
and I’m afraid I miss it most days
in the wanting something more

I look back out the window and
the light has dimmed
but is tinged with orange now
the bird has gone but
the baby shouts a loud hallelujah
and I turn to him
his eyes flickering candles
Yes
I am here
now

 

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Holly pens beauty at her writing home A Lifetime of Days . Follow her on twitter @HollyAGrantham .

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Adagio: A Poetry Project is currently comprised of three offerings. The first, entitled Writing Across The Distance may be found here, the second entitled Black Night Of Hope may be read here and the third Les Mains

Adagio: Vernal Light

blades of grass adagio projectTwo women, two writers, one love of poetry, thus The Adagio Project was born. A writer spends  time penning her words alone, in a cafe, in a writing cottage, or in the middle of living. Right in the middle of where she  lives out her days. A kitchen table,  a chair by a window are  more than enough for most.

But Holly Grantham of A Lifetime of Days and I have paired our love for words, especially poetic ones. Partnered, to weave threads of thought together. We have never met, nor even spoken to one another. Our words are our tether, one to the other poet. From across over one thousand miles we create poems for Adagio: A Poetry Project.

Seeking a visual prompt to launch this part of the project, we have graciously received and incorporated  the visual art of photographer Kelly Sauer. Kelly’s love and use of light were significant  inspiration points for our offering here. She captures beauty, light and life in an exceptionally lovely way. And she shares our love for blogging on her own, La Joie, La Vie.

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Vernal Light

Hope hangs her head, long and low
Prays for light to pierce the dark
days
buried in the blur of time, gathers
pearls, drops of faith cling
to ray on ray of radiant
Hope, bows to birth
love has found her way

Vernal light glimmers golden on
pearled edges
as days lengthen and clocks spin
and the wisps of honey covered
minutes
blow airy and light
billowing curtains and hearts
alike

We cannot see frail and broken
made of bone and flesh
we  still hold to doubt and fear
but tender is the soul infused with hope
for it
holds new mercy rising on the orange blaze, promises
to take us with her
as she dreams

There are shadows, still
but brighter is that which
slants across her face
than that which seeks to rule the world
When there are only dark days
piled one upon the other

That is the promise of the
bloom
an emerging efforescence
that causes hands to lift
and eyes to shine
while their glint burns bright
upon the field

Look for signs of tender hope
when wrinkled lines curl gentle on the edge
of lip and eye, blue no more
the bird has made her
nest of
new
fragile eggs
laid in trust
hold gentle as you breathe out dread
and winter’s gloom is carried off
light breaks open
claiming hearts and souls again

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Holly and I are grateful too for Lisa Leonard at Lisa Leonard Designs whose jewelry is shown here on the model’s neckline.  The photograph used in Vernal Light was  selected  from  a collaboration between Lisa Leonard and Kelly Sauer. Again, thank you Kelly for generously allowing us to partner with you. You can find more of Kelly’s work  at Kelly Sauer dot com.  And you can follow her blog and her art through words at La Joie, La Vie.

If you are interested in reading all of the poems in the collective, click here

Poetry At Work Between Friends: Adagio

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It is a delight to continue to partner with Holly at A Lifetime of Days for poetry. We live and breathe half-way across the country from one another, have never met in real life, but have formed a friendship and a common love for words. Most especially for poetry.

Today is the third offering of Adagio: A Poetry Project which began last year and continues to grow and fly. Our fledgling, our joint writing project is leaving the nest again. You may recall our first poem, woven and written together, was a picture of us as individual writers. The second time, Adagio involved separate poems inspired by the words of a song which Holly shared with me. It was the Christmas season and that weighed heavy on our words.

Today, January 15, 2013, is the first ever Poetry At Work Day, an idea birthed from the creative folks at Tweetspeak Poetry. Today we thread a poem together into one piece, from a distance. Holly and I write with each other, as well as in community with other writers.  I am raising three children or they are raising me. One has left the nest or flown the coop. Holly is the momma of two boys whom she homeschools.

This is the work of our hands and hearts.8050802129_c31e37d9d6

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Les Mains (French for “hands”) talks of the power, the breadth, and the warmth of God’s reach.  For us, our hands can be tools and vehicles for working, for writing, for loving. We would love to hear your thoughts on the multiple roles hands play in the living out of your days.

You may write your prose, your comments, your poetry, however you feel lead.  Just write in the comments here or at A Lifetime of Days and give us the link to your own writing. We long to read your words, the overflow of your heart.

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Les Mains

Your hands reach back
through inky curtains
worn, frail, thin
settling our shaky human brokenness
and
smoothing the broken shards of conscience
all the while
quelling a thousand restless swirling places
and
righting rattled beats

And then, as always
You are here
the warming sun your canopy
and I must grab hold of your shadow
for fear of sinking deep into
the pools of light
left in your wake
For the day
it keeps moving,
ray upon ray

Always
You reach forward
no more fevered pitch
or furrowed brow
You are slow
and steady
All that races
finds a peaceful pace
In a twinkling
the frozen is warmed
and the darkness becomes
Light

And as with all creation
Your hands
form a holy welcome
That longed for warm embrace
enveloping all restless souls
with grace

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