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Journaling in the Library- from Longfellow’s garden
Portland Public Library’s Journaling group meets every 3rd Wednesday of the month, at 5:30, in the Portland Room. For July’s gathering we decided to meet at the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Garden, thanks to our wonderful neighbors at Maine Historical Society. (For the August 16th meeting, we’ll be back in the Portland Room, at 5:30.) One of our popular journaling prompts, to get the writing wheels turning, is something we call “write where you are.” We began the summer evening by seating ourselves in different parts of the garden, which offers plenty of nooks and perches. After 12 minutes, we gathered and read aloud what we came up with. Most of our participants sent in their choice excerpts from the exercise, and here they are:
“There are two trellises in front of the brick wall. They appear to be window frames but when one looks through them there is only the bricks. Windows to nowhere. This seems absurd just like the artist who painted ‘This is not a pipe.’ This is not a window.
Some people have windows that have nothing to see when peered out of. Others have windows that showcase spectacular views. Are they always appreciative of the view or does its ability to enthrall wane over time. The human mind enjoys variety. After a certain amount of time it is not aware of what is right in front of it. If sticky notes become ubiquitous the mind ignores them, searching for some fresh perspective to alight on.”
“The pathway of flagstone steps leads up and around through yellow day lilies and ferns. A birdbath sits at the top of the path but no birds are bathing at this moment though their song can be heard from where they perch on branches overhead.”
“A stream comes from lion’s mouth,
The stream hits the water beneath,
Every tree is different,
Dressed leaves or pods.
Some trees stretch their arms towards the sky.”
– Karen P.
“The living brick,
the wind in brick,
Tree stirred to swimming shadow
on the once-dead wall.”
“Colorless sky, unconvincing siren, sea gulls sound their own alarm. A tiny ant makes its way across the sea of bricks, passing by another ant. Writers return to their seats.”
“A stone lion always running his mouth, but forever in one place. This place, with black, iron benches forged with designs of grapes, not of wrath, but of respect for one’s solitude.”. In case someone has submitted a line referencing the lion or the grapes, and you do not wish the collaboration to fall redundant, here is another: “The garden is dressed head to toe in brick, but hidden within a concrete jungle.”
“They are red, purple
Staring up at the sky
waiting to be noticed
Planted to stay
but free to climb
They change the
Of the green landscape.”
“Writers are spread around the garden, surely pleasing Henry’s spirits! At the height of summer, the tress; verdant drapery are at their densest, and earthen aromas of boxwood waft with the breezes. All of this is situated right at the center of the city, and few have any idea this is here, along the busiest street in this state. But on scratch and scribe the writers in Hank’s back yard, scribbling with the seagulls and garden beetles.”– Abraham
(Items from the Library, about the Longfellow Garden!)