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Many Muses This Muse Day

Under new leaves

my daughter’s daughter – newborn

crying in my arms

That she may walk the Woman’s Trail unafraid

I name her Rising Moon.

by Carol Purington    #41 in The Trees Bleed Sweetness: A Tanka Narrative

This poem by my friend Carol Purington is from her book of tanka written in the voice of a Native American woman who might have lived in these hills where her family has farmed for more than 200 years.  I chose it because it is spring, a time of new beginnings and the poem has a grandmother making a prayer of what she wishes for her new granddaughter.

MorningSong: Poems for New Parents

This poem is an especially appropriate choice this weekend because Carol, along with her good friend Susan Todd (who served as teacher to Carol’s nephews years ago) held a publication party at the Purington farm to celebrate a book of poetry that they edited for new parents. Morning Song includes poems across time and cultures, some of which are old favorites like Christopher Robin Is Saying His Prayers by A.A. Milne and some of which will be new to many readers. Authors included are as famous as Richard Wilbur and as skilled and talented as our local Amy Dryansky and Susie Patlove.

The intent of the book is to take parents through the whole sequence of a child’s life from conception on  in a way that will give them hope and encouragement to persevere through all the doubts that parents inevitably suffer.

I have used several of Carol’s poems for Muse Day and I have written about her here. Celebrating a different kind of Muse Day with her, her family, and others who were instrumental in the making of this book was a great joy and honor. I mentioned to Carol that because our friendship is so new I had nothing to do with the creation of this wonderful book, but she sighed and said, “But you walked through the publication process with us.”  That is true and it has certainly been an instructive walk through the publishing world.

Carol will have signed the copies of the book that Susan will bring and be signing at The World Eye Bookshop on Wednesday, May 4 from 4 t0 6 pm. Don’t you know a new parent who will need and enjoy this book?

To see what other Muses are abroad visit carolyngail at sweethomeandgardenchicago.


Muse Day February 2010

The pair of quilts

we pieced together, laughing

at the future’s far design

my handiwork now covers a husband, babies –

hers, a corpse.

Carol Purington

Thank you Carolyn gail for giving me the chance to be twice inspired on this Muse Day. My friend Carol Purington wrote the poem, published in her book A Pattern For This Place, and my friend Lois Holm made this quilt for me when I retired from the Buckland Library.

I knew of Carol, before I met her, as the “poet who has been in an iron lung since childhood” but over the past few months I have come to know her as a working poet with a quick intelligence, a critical eye, and a loving heart. She has been generous to me with her attention and advice as we have worked together on my new writing project. And I have been able to watch the progress on her new project, a poetry anthology for parents.

Lois was my devoted library volunteer, trustee and dependable prop when I worked at the Library. She came to the library as a volunteer after a full professional life as nurse, working in the schools, and deep involvement in her community. I was incredibly lucky about the timing of that retirement which brought her to the library not only as a reader and patron, but as my major support and exemplar.

In this quilt she drew not only nf my love of gardens, but of my time in China. It is a work of art with the careful combining of color and pattern, flowers and ripples. Chinese art often includes an element of time, as do haiku, Carol’s chosen poetic form. The band of fabric with golden ‘ripples’ suggest to me the time that is always flowing past us. The quilt itself, and the poem reach back into memory, and into the present with continuing affection.

Brilliant, and yet again brilliant


                   Foliage-viewing –

               Annual failure to slake

          Winter’s color thirst.          


In her haiku Carol Purington captures a season and the necessity of trying to prepare for the monochromatic winter landscape.  She captures the colors, creatures and songs of every season at Woodslawn Farm here in western Massachusetts.  This haiku is from her book Woodslawn Farm.

To see what other muses are abroad and inspiring us, visit Carolyn gail at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago, the host of Muse Day, and Blotanical nominee.  Don’t forget to vote.