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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.