how do you follow the joy? Maybe joy lies hidden between the lines of stories about hate, heroin, and heroes in the newspaper? Does the little black squiggle that whispers in our ear at sunset lead us to joy? What about the red pumping through our hearts and into the corners of our being – does that take us to joy? Maybe joy lies hidden in how all the colors of your canvas meld like a chef’s au jus-y sauce? Does joy arise in a line of spongy blue polka dots that mark the boundaries of our fear? What about the clutch of eggs not-really-hiding in the Robin’s nest – does joy circle around them? Maybe joy lies hidden in the torn piece of paper from a love letter long forgotten, now collaged into our life? Does the top or bottom of the broken stick point in the direction of joy, or does joy swirl around in all directions everywhere? What about the subtle sparkle in the paint that sits on the surface, waiting for us to notice – will joy start singing from that little stage? Maybe joy lies hidden in and around the square of paper and all the energetic intention of its creator, just inviting us to open?
This poem was written in response to a prompt related to ekphrastic poetry (poetry that responds to art) in How to Write Poetry: A Guided Journal with Prompts to Ignite Your Imagination. I was invited to pick a favorite piece of art, and ask it a question, with the poem forming the answer. I chose a 3X3 collage that I purchased for myself in 2020, Follow the Joy by Catherine Rains. Check out her website HERE.