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Featured Poet

Fae Ellsworth lives in Virgin, Utah, in the shadow of Zion National Park in a house she and her late husband, sculptor, Brent Gehring, built with their hands. She was born in Berkeley California into a bookish family. She was an English major at Brigham Young University and at age 50 returned to the ‘Y’ to earn her MFA in ceramics. During all this time poetry was her secret love. 

In a series of unexpected events, she met a long-lost cousin, Ann, a gifted poet, with whom she joined forces and wrote weekly poems for the past two years using shared, five-word prompts. Fae feels this practice has changed her life for the better.

 

 

 

 

Segullah editors hope this sample of Fae’s poems will inspire readers to jot down five evocative words and create poems as a mindful, meditative, creative exercise. We invite you to choose a poetry partner for your own poetry prompt experience.

 

Detour

 

The blackened road trod,

many burdens balanced

on heads, sorrow strapped

on backs with jute

like a wooden chair,

eyes upward, whiff the tired air.

Used, then used again.

 

Stop.

Go where the slant of light resides,

compose yourself. Lay down the pain,

don a delicate pearl necklace, if possible.

Hold the warm cup to your cheek,

sense the chamomile of it all.

Let time pass.

 

Brush tension off your

kitchen counter,

break an egg,

scrape out the glossy white

with your index finger,

hear it sizzle

in its favorite pan.

 

 

She Has Her Work Cut Out For Her

 

Blue folders lie in repose,

like beach towels,

spread on art room table

waiting to be chosen—

snippets from old books, magazines:

faces, hands, flowers, a geisha in pink.

 

She chooses feather headdress to adorn Betty Crocker

holding a wooden spoon in one hand;

proud dad in black and white lifts

infant in christening dress, like angel wing

as crowd looks on, smiling at

baby’s green trout head.

 

It’s a mirage, a way to make things new—

the comforting snip of scissors,

scraps falling like confetti snow,

scent of lavender tea makes her mindful,

tension evaporates as she pastes sleeping boy

over boa snake, the perfect perch.

 

Days ease by in tranquility and

at night the artist searches sky

for Polaris, the North Star, the one

sailors used to find their way home.

 

 

 

Illumination

 

Amble out to the pasture—

the one in your mind.

Lie on your back,

gaze up at summer, the downy sky,

lilacs like music, humming cumulus melodies,

invisible water vapor condensing

into more than air can hold.

 

Let go of the messy smear

on your shirt sleeve,

like a kindergartner’s artwork,

like the heirloom cut glass goblet

that slipped from your fingers

the night before

of its own free will.

 

 

 

The Year of Living Covidly

 

No candlelight supper for this

landmark anniversary of

fear hovering, encasing

the planet, her desert home.

And drought, the worst in a millennium,

wilting her sage, executing

the trees, her spirits.

She sees friends dying—

so often that the florist recognizes

her voice ordering flowers.

She spends days gathering seeds of memories

as vivid as the cracks of lightning

breaking open the night sky.

 

Yet there are hints of bliss—

like lemon zest in an otherwise

ordinary muffin— that hover

close to the jovial:

that time she and her sister

stayed up all night laughing

as they arranged sweet peas

in canning jars for daughter’s

new dawn wedding,

put them in vast baskets

for guests to breathe in

the sea of color and not

one limp petal in the bunch.

 

 

Encore

 

A novel in progress, we are all

under constant revision,

never fixed like the pine in its forest.

 

So, where do you go, wanderer,

when you outgrow yourself—

stretching like a caged cheetah

 

pacing your two steps back and forth,

beautiful, but quarantined,

bend your bars, see it was never locked.

 

Take a sharp knife, hew the extraneous,

knit a new you in the long evenings alone,

say to yourself: it is not the story I tell

 

like Greek mythology—

the one about the pomegranate.

9 thoughts on “Featured Poet”

  1. I love Fae's layered, quotidian work! I'm especially moved by "Encore". And I love the idea of the 5 word prompts and the poetry partner. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Reply
  2. Fae’s poetry affirms her ability to artfully capture true and uncommon emotions in a simple way. Fae has a uniqueness in combining rhythms of dance, art, and poetry in profound appeal.
    Loved her work!

    Reply
  3. I love the verbal surprises and tone of “Detour.” “Brush tension off your / kitchen counter” is both a good line break and an interesting metaphor. These poems are full of such gems.

    Reply
  4. Fae, you are my hero! In addition to being an incredibly talented poet, sculpturer, and writer, I know you to be a kind, loving and funny woman. I have appreciated your suggestions to me and saved me from much angst. Congrats on getting the recognization that you so deserve. I especially loved the way you wrote the Covid poem. And yes, I will "brush the tension from my kitchen counter", thanks for the reminder! I miss all my Virgin Ward sisters and wish you all the best.

    Reply
  5. I’ve read these poems several times. I’m amazed at her creative and talented work. I’m sure it was not work as such. It must have been great fun. I very much like to know the five words each poem has. Then I would try it.

    Reply
  6. Fae is a Blessing to to everyone and everything she meets! What a Gifted Artist on so many levels! So lucky to call her my close neighbor and my dear friend! Love. LOVE. LOVE these poems!

    Reply

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