Monday, August 16, 2010

September Theme: Trees.

Community Poem
Everyone approaches grief differently. While there is many similarities in our emotions around loss, death and grief, we each come by it in our own way. I am constantly amazed when I pull together community poems how few overlaps of words there are. When, for example, I wrote last month's community poem, which was submit one word that you think other people would use to describe you or your grief, I thought I was going to get twenty submissions of "strong". That was the first word I thought of, but I only received two strongs, and that was the only overlap.

One of my favorite poems is Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens. Each of the thirteen stanzas is different approach to the theme of a blackbird. The minimalist style of each stanza, while influenced by the haiku, is not a haiku. I am linking the piece, because I want each of us to use that style in September's community poem. But first, I would like you to put your grief or death goggles on. Now, we are going to each write a stanza to thirteen ways of looking at an object through the lens of grief. Of course, that thirteen will change based on the number of entries I get. I really wanted the object to be unrelated to death or grief, even though I want each person to look at it through their grief. So, September's community poem will be Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Tree.

Start thinking about trees through the lens of grief.

Please direct any questions about this poem, or any section of this month's theme, in the comments section of this post. This month's community poem will be published on September 5th, so all entries need to be in by September 4th. Happy poeming!

Photo Sunday.

Photo Sunday is a showcase of photographs about a theme. This month's theme is trees. Tying this project to grief is the important, and difficult aspect of this challenge. Photo Sunday will be September 12th, so all pictures need to be submitted by the 11th.

Mid-Month Challenge.

Mid-month challenge is to use the image of tree in a piece of artwork, craft or writing about your grief and loss. You can use any medium, as always. Please send in submissions by September 18th, for submission on the 19th.

Ten Questions.

Here are this month's ten questions. I will post a Mr. Linky on Sunday September 26th. You come and link to your own blog with answers to these questions. You can choose to answer as many as you would like, or just post about the month's theme. This is a way for members of the still life 365 community to find other people in this community.

1. When you saw the theme of trees for the month of September, what immediately came to your mind?
2. What kinds of words do you associate with trees?
3. Of these words, do you associate any with yourself?
4. Have you been an outdoorsy person throughout your life?
5. How has your relationship with nature changed since your loss(es)?
6. Did you plant a tree or bush in honor of your child?
7. If you have planted a tree for your child, in what ways do you incorporate the tree into your life? If you haven't, what natural images do you associate with your loss? (Do you tend to it? Do you meditate or reflect under it? Do you places flowers by it?)
8. Trees have also been used to represent families. Talk a bit about your own family tree.
9. What are your feelings now about family trees and exploring your own lineage?
10. The rings of trees fascinate me. I remember learning that in hard years, the rings were smaller, or darker than in years of good water. Describe the rings of your tree.

When I was a kid, I loved loved loved Bob Ross, and often think when I am painting anything, "Happy little trees." So, for a little inspiration...

If you have any questions about this month's theme (TREES), please direct it to the comment section of this post. Happy creating.


  1. lol I remember Bob Ross always painting those trees.

  2. Wow - this subject could not be more perfect for me and the month of September. I am inspired.

  3. I love the blackbird poem. It fits well for me because I think of a blackbird as a euphamism for my baby.

  4. So, for the poem is there a certain number of lines each stanza should be or can it vary like in the example poem?

  5. perfect theme for Dresden's birth month. I will submit a photo of his apple tree. :)

  6. looking forward to it all. thanks for organizing it all.

  7. For the community poem - do we submit a full 13 stanzas or just one stanza or just one image?

  8. Never mind - I read it again and see we each submit a stanza! Duh.

  9. Glad some people are inspired by this theme. I actually thought maybe we should write our own blackbird poem, but then I thought trees might be a good theme since they have so many symbols across so many cultures. To answer questions, Holly, there are no limit to lines, but I think less is more with this style, if that makes sense. Think haiku without counting syllables. And Amy, no, not 13 stanzas, just one stanza per person. I will title it accordingly. If I get three entries, it will be titled Three Ways of Looking at a Tree.

    Hope this helps.

  10. Angie, Where is the Mr. Linky? I can't find it anywhere.


What do you think?