“It is always better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~
Hello, and welcome to the Poetry Friday Roundup! (Visit Renée LaTulippe at No Water River to learn more about Poetry Friday.)
Two months ago, when I was efficiently filling out my calendar with important dates, I realized I was hosting Poetry Friday on International Women’s Day I never pass up the opportunity for a theme, so I suggested that we share poems celebrating women.
I found this to be a bit more challenging that I anticipated. Right after I posted my idea, astronomer Nancy Grace Roman passed away. After reading about this amazing woman, I thought I might write a poem to honor her. But then I found a post by Maria Papova on BrainPickings about Ellen Harding Baker, an Iowa teacher who lived from 1847-1886. During her short life, she created a quilt depicting our solar system to use during her lessons. Her stunning creation is now part of the collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
This confluence of needlework and astronomy drew me to Ellen’s story and made me want to celebrate her life. This poem has proven quite a challenge to write, and I hope it does her justice.
An Ode to Ellen Harding Baker
Silenced by society’s
rules and regulations,
she adhered to its conventions,
Smiling on her sister,
Minerva granted her a gift:
The skill and creativity
to share her story visually.
Denied the power of the pen,
she embroidered woolen cloth.
Inspired by the spangled sky
and swirling stars above,
she stitched a blazing tapestry
detailing our corner of the galaxy.
Her masterpiece invited
wonderment and awe,
spreading knowledge and delight,
helping imaginations to take flight.
© Catherine Flynn, 2019
Today’s post is also doing double-duty as my Slice of Life. Thank you to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Kelsey, Melanie, and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and each Tuesday throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.
And now for the Roundup! Please join today’s celebration of poetry by sharing your link.