11. Day 21: The Ecstasy Of Ekphrasis

Posted by on Feb 21, 2015 in All-One, Fear of Success | 2 comments

11. Day 21:  The Ecstasy Of Ekphrasis

Since learning to extend love to my fear of success has to include the opportunity for success (and failure), I signed up for a poetry class at the Crocker Art Museum.  Poetry is very near and dear to my heart because this was the first way I was conscious of my heart voice and the Holy Spirit speaking to me.  It was so unusual to find my self writing poetry it really grabbed my attention.  Since those early days I find myself drawn to expressing through poetry the thoughts, feelings and revelations I can’t otherwise capture.  Up until now I have never really read  my poetry aloud in a group and last night I did just that.

This class is called “The Ecstasy of Ekphrasis”.   Ekphrasis is essentially the art of writing poetry inspired by art.  The Poet Laureate of Sacramento, Jeff Knorr, teaches the class.  We were a group of women of all ages and backgrounds from just out of high school (“My sister got me the class for my birthday!”) to  entering retirement and finally taking time for one’s self.  There were attorneys who needed something to stimulate the right brain after interpreting the legal code all day long, teachers who wanted to forget the classroom antics of middle schoolers for a while and others who just thought it sounded fun.  Together we gloried in the time we had set aside for something utterly frivolous, time with ourselves with all else left outside the door.

Victorian ladscape

Our teacher is easy going, open and willing to share just enough information so as to whet our appetites without making it feel like school.  We were there because we wanted to be.  Some had written poetry before, others were kind of curious to see if they could; all wanted to explore this new way of looking at poetry and art. We dived into metaphor and simile, narrative and image and it made so much more sense than it did in seventh grade when I first heard these described during the standard poetry unit offered that year.  (I remember being completely flummoxed by poetry in middle school, feeling the heart speak but deciding that only special people could make it happen.) After the brief but very useful introduction of terms and process Jeff had us each introduce ourselves and tell a little of why we signed up for the class.  I found myself saying that poetry kind of snuck up on me a few years ago and I was writing it before I recognized it and that now, after trusting that the voice that spoke wasn’t going to disappear  I wanted to go deeper.  Afterwards we went up into the third floor galleries of the Crocker and took time to contemplate several paintings.  We were invited just to see, feel and notice and allow ourselves to either take notes, write a line or two of poetry or just be.

young Queen VictoriaI spend a lot of time at the museum with the art as a docent but rarely get to spend so much time with a single painting any more.  This opened another door entirely to allow the painting to connect to the voice of my heart and have pencil in hand and let the words flow as they may.  It was like opening a tiny door and finding a bubbling spring beneath.  Words just poured forth and it felt so good.  The paintings were children saying “Look at me! Pick me!!” as they each spoke to me in different words.  I could have stayed there for hours doing this.  We did eventually return to the classroom on the first floor to enjoy what our teacher called “a clear psychic space” and to write or rework our poems that came to us when in front of a particular painting.

For the first time I felt the holiness of edit and rewrite.  It was so astonishing the first time I finally realized that I had a poetic voice, every word felt sacred and not to be adjusted.  I was afraid that the adjustment process would include judgment and I somehow knew that judgment might quelch the voice so I just let whatever came out land on my paper.  Now, having spent so much time with this beloved voice I find within me I am finally ready to extend love and trust to the editing process without fearing the derailment of judgment. This is a huge success for me.  I didn’t even realize that this is why I hardly ever reworked a poem was that I feared falling into the trap (and couldn’t get out) of the judgment that leads to self judgment.  Now I know how to get out; extend love.  By extending love to my thoughts, to my judgments, to my fears I remind myself I AM love and in doing this I am restored to that precious and true holy place within where  I am my real self in communication with the real divine spark that is God’s Voice within, the Holy Spirit.  That we concluded the evening with a few of us reading aloud the poems we had crafted was another signal that this voice within me cannot be squelched and is here to stay.



  1. Nice

    • Thanks for reading and sharing Al! xoxo

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