Thursday, July 15, 2010


This poem is a response to L L Barkat's Seedlings in Stone blog on her writing table ---


Some people say that a cluttered room
Distracts the mind from productivity –
“Clean up the outer mess, and your inner life
Will be more peaceful,
Setting free a burst of creativity.”

I don’t find that so, at all!
Please see in my clutter a hint of nativity –
The advent of being free to act as a midwife
To birth a cupful
Of expressions of artistic activity.

Oh, look! I’m an artist after all.
I thought that part of me had shriveled up and died.
So many other interruptions hindered me.
But now I have materials out in sight,
And someday, surprising works
May bloom from my shelves or wall.

My Dining Room table is a mess.
Bless this mess, O God!

My table is an activity room all by itself.
The place where I read and sort my mail
(And park the pieces I can’t decide whether to save or toss.)
Devotionals and Christian writings lie scramble-piled,
Near at hand, my necessity.
There’s a spot where salt shaker,
Cinnamon shaker, and bottles of
Digestive tablets hover at ready.
Two days ago the clean, crisp swirls
Of a pink-red rose were worth some photo shots;
Now the rose is shriveling, I’ll get around to ditching it.
Tomorrow, maybe.

My Amplified Bible stays out in sight,
In case I want to glean its treasures
While I eat or work or think;
Yet it’s doing another duty, for underneath its weight
A batch of leaves are pressed!
Leaves that when fully dried, will
Go in some arty design.

The rest of the table is occupied.
Call it a mess, or call it inspiration.
If “out of sight is out of mind,”
Then being close at hand must spur me on
To create and build and re-wind.
Curliques and shreds of bark from neighbor’s trees.
Dried grasses plucked from sidewalk cracks.
A bit of plastic dust (green) from sawing
A liquid detergent bottle into odd strange rings.
A bit of feather, a snatch of lichen, and
Some home-deco brought in by a friend.
A big bowl of pine cones which had got its picture taken.
Marking pens, scissors, toothpicks, and cut up bottles,
And a great big bottle of Elmer’s glue.
(I tell you, this list is really all true!)
Oh, yes, there’s also an empty space!
It isn’t a large place, but cleared off
Just enough so I may lay my plate and
Eat my daily meals.

Bless the food I eat to nourish me, Lord.
And bless this mess, oh God!
For “surely the presence of the Lord is in this place”.
At my overflowing dining room table
I worship and praise and pray,
Even as I play and play.

From this clutter, have I taken countless snapshots.
Close-ups of individual materials. And
“Made by me” things besides.

So far I’ve created a tree form from bark curls. And
An ornament with tiny pebbles and
Tiny sprig of stiffish grass-head.
A cotton puff (once from a pill bottle) and
A scrabbly bitty piece of burlap, frayed,
That I don’t remember how I even got –
Well, those two dissimilar, ordinary parts
Became “White Manx Cat Settling Down”:
A strictly temporary artwork,
For if touched or pulled the cat shape
Will shrink or maybe disappear.

But I have many other ideas in mind.
I just have to grab the right oddments,
Find the right free time.

Photos and text
© 2010 by Marilee Miller
Feel free to link to this, but please no copying without permission.

In my next post I hope to show more materials on the table, and a few finished projects.

1 comment:

  1. Marilee, this is such fun to hear of all that goes into your creativity...or wwaits its arrival... or maybe births it... as this marvelous little line tucked in suggests...

    "Please see in my clutter a hint of nativity –"

    I like that thought in regards to my life too. Maybe in the clutter... a hint of nativity?


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