Sunday, April 9, 2017

Poetry: Providence

Untitled

PROVIDENCE

I spent a year
inside steepled walls
with a weary flock
and their flood of
private thoughts
we prayed out loud
with a vague dread
our pain tucked in
our sins neatly pressed

But my feet
were restless
in the pews
my mouth couldn't taste
the peace there
my throat hurt
from choking
on the points
of the church spires

I found God instead
outside the four walls
beneath a roof of oaks
in a chapel of trees
reading each verse
in the veins
of the leaves, in
the mushroomed earth
trampled by my feet

Truth in the cells
of each fallen treasure
on the floor of the woods
with its holiness of color
There I can pray
and gently surrender
to the source inside
that turns my poems tender
in a sacred rhythm
my soul, not I,
remembers.

© Sherri Brannon 2017

"Were I in churchless solitudes remaining,
Far from all voice of teachers and divines,
My soul would find, in flowers of God’s ordaining,
Priests, sermons, shrines."
~Glen Ridge, 1863

My church is in nature. Worshiping within four walls never resonated with me...I tried it, believe me. It didn't fit for me personally. My best learning, the most sacred kind, happens in nature. I walk in the trees and the limits of my mind loosen, the heart of it all reveals itself a little bit more with each veined leaf, with each branch - ragged or full - reaching for the light, for something higher. My biggest epiphanies, my closest talks with God, happen amidst the trees and flowers.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Poetry: Heart to Heart

Falling star

HEART TO HEART

Night makes an entrance
saying hello, bowing low
like a cosmic gentleman
listening to my words
as I pour my heart out
in the white-starred silence:
This sad earth of ours
is falling apart
all the people
in our troubled towns
with their angry mouths
have forgotten they're made
from long dead stars
all this mess of life
that strains itself
through cynical hearts
bitter thrones
spirits struck down
choked off, falling hard
and it shows
stardust hearts
have turned themselves off
burned themselves out
it's hard to share
my feathery thoughts
with stony hearts
and it's not in me
to put my fists up and fight
with these bird wrists of mine
this story book mind that
always looks to the skies
that wants to love softly
and fly
I plead with the night:
please help us to
sort it all out in time
and out of the blue
the sky answers in kind
sending me a tender sign
tossing down a falling star
a celestial offering
from its own carbon heart
to mine.

© Sherri Brannon 2017

A falling star is absolutely magical...I saw one recently and my heart overflowed. A split second of a miracle for my eyes only, or maybe not. Did anyone else at that exact moment happen to be looking up at the sky right when it happened? If so, we were supremely lucky to have shared that moment together. Separately, but together.

The state of the world...the ugliness we're showing to each other...the vast separation...it weighs heavily on me these days. Almost all of my poetry is about this subject right now. I like how this poem runs together in a big jumble, just like my stream-of-thought when I'm standing alone looking up at the stars.

Note: PLEASE, no politics if you comment. I am so burnt out by it all. Just this morning I saw these words by a photographer named Tim Kemple, and he said it perfectly: "These days it seems like there are endless platforms to shout your opinions from. That's good, and important, but if everyone is shouting then is anyone listening?" To see more of his photos (and brilliant writing), check him out on Instagram. I became an instant follower.

My photo started out as a daylight photo I took in Hilton Head a month or so ago - I put it through several apps and it began to look like a night photo. I thought it would be a great photo to support my poem.

Grace is always present. You imagine it as something high in the sky, far away, something that has to descend. It is really inside you, in your heart. When the mind rests in its source, grace rushes forth, sprouting as from a spring within you. ~Ramana Maharshi

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Poetry: Wild

Untitled

WILD

Most people carry the husks
of their wild oats
in their pockets
and every once in awhile
their hand reaches in
to scoop out an old piece of rebellion
turned to sawdust
and it makes them smile

But I was that child
whose only version of wild
was to raise my hand to read out loud in class
in my own quiet way of daring
and it turned into a lifelong thing
this cautious mind, with empty pockets
lost in an inner world
deep within the confines
of my careful cage of a body

It's all okay, though,
I'm coming back around
I was always afraid of my own shadow
but God was just making sure
I was breaking it in
growing me into a better version
of that bookworm child
teaching me to see
beyond the hard edges
of my knowledge

And I have come to love
my own way of the wild
the soul-side kind
curve of spirit, circle of dreams
soft epiphanies and wonders
spiraling behind my eyes
which may have aging lines
but now seek out the light in others
because the eyes
can never tell lies

My wild oats are alive
and they're with me even now
I shake them off my fingers
collecting them
between the pages of my journal
soulful word husks
pressed into the grain of the paper
where I can sit in my wild silence
and read them, and smile.

© Sherri Brannon 2017

Watch out for intellect,
because it knows so much it knows nothing
and leaves you hanging upside down,
mouthing knowledge as your heart
falls out of your mouth.
~Anne Sexton

I was never a rebel growing up...I was the quiet, studious one. I was the good girl who was afraid to step out of line or get into trouble. I'm perfectly content with that now. It suits me perfectly. We all have some sort of wild in us...mine was (is) just quieter, and more internal. What kind of wild did (do) you have?

As a creative challenge, I tried to come up with an image to go along with my poem. I don't know if I succeeded, but it sure was fun trying. I blended two of my iPhone images together in Superimpose (one being a shadow photo of my hand). I recently discovered the Slow Shutter Cam app and I'm having fun trying to figure it out. It'll take some practice!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Poetry: Grounded

Untitled

GROUNDED

I seek out the water
and we breathe together
I look into the
honest eyes
of the dusk flowers
and we see each other
I love these moments
how my soul
takes time to notice
I have long resisted
that my sensitivity
is my strength
we fools of the world
there are days
I'd rather not
have my fragile heart
be my super power
with my soft approach
my love of dead poets
my lofty thoughts of God
all tethered down
by this ball and chain
of a brain

I seek comfort in nature
its wordless wonder
with no malice or sting
there are no greedy stars
with cynical hearts
I think about the sound
the moon must make
when it brushes
against the water
and I'm forever grateful
the herons don't mock
they have no sharp tongues
no sorrows that burn
no eyes filled
with fire and ego
I watch them fly
daring me to follow
and I stand there
earth-grounded
as they depart
for the sky
to their paradise,
their star-God life.

© Sherri Brannon 2017

The jewel is the awaring presence, not the object being seen. That’s why we can be bored and disappointed while gazing at the Swiss Alps and ecstatic and blissed out over a crumpled cigarette package in the gutter. The beauty is in the quality of the seeing, the awareness, the presence, not in the object being seen. ~Joan Tollifson

This is my first poem I've written in well over a year...it's nice to be back. Real life has been very busy. The image was taken with my iPhone and edited with Stackables.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

App Stacking Edits: Waterlogue, Tangled FX, iColorama, Distressed FX

Fall grass in Florida

Morning fog in Florida

App stacking has become my only method of altering my photos - I'm actually starting to forget how to use Photoshop Elements. I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite recent edits.

For the first photo, I used Tangled FX initially, and then merged that photo with the original one in Superimpose to make the effect more subtle. I added the birds with Distressed FX. I also played with the image in iColorama using the "Raise" effect. I've discovered if you bring the opacity way down on the Raise effect, it sharpens the image in a very pleasing way. I believe I also added a paper texture in iColorama.

I was thrilled with how the second photo came out - I had forgotten about the Waterlogue app and hadn't used it in awhile. I love the wonderful watercolor look it gives. After altering my photo in Waterlogue, I merged it with the original image in Superimpose to achieve a happy medium between the two. I then used the iColorama "raise" effect to sharpen the image, and I love how defined it made the tree limbs.

Thank you for stopping by! I'm "sherribrannon" on Instagram.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Poetry and Procreate: Thinking

Memories

THINKING

My memories lie
Folded within me
In a perfect spiral
Each whorl a sheet
Of fragile thoughts
Delicate letters on
Onionskin paper
Tucked inside
Sheer envelopes

Some memories rest warm
Worn from a loving touch
While others lie cold
Keen along their folds
Glued tightly shut by
My dry tongue
Their sharp edges
Having left a
Bead of blood

Memory coils
In flawless symmetry
Unfolding their contents
Like a deck of cards
Dealing my soul a
Soothing sip of comfort
From a sun’s teacup
All sweetness and honey

Or, with an unlucky draw,
A swift unrolling of
Shadows across my heart
A callous tickle from
The oily wing of gloom
Its feathers fanned grandly
Across my spiraled
memories with aplomb.

© Sherri Brannon


I wrote this poem awhile back, but have never shared it on this blog...I have another poem in the works, but it's coming along slowly.

My girl is the result of more fun with Procreate and other apps - I drew her in Procreate and added one of my painted backgrounds. I then moved her into iColorama and used Distort and Effects to create the patterns and double exposure effect. I thought the pattern might give the effect of "whorls" and memories. That's the wonderful thing about apps - you can take a drawing that's not very good and make it look much more artistic!

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Memory only slumbers—never dies. ~Thomas Paine

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Poetry and Procreate: White Flag

Procreate girl

WHITE FLAG

It's time, my child, we have lived as one
for far too long...they say nothing ever changes
unless there's some pain. There's a prayer in me I whisper
each day, hoping for a healing, that this fear we've shared,
its pale white jaws, will finally be silent,
become bone dry and burnt down to their sockets.

Safe travels, my child, as I watch the small moon loving you from afar
I'll be the keeper of your secrets, I'll beg the heavens to bear
your burdens as you falter. I'll pray your rib bones
curve with the river as you wander, and I hope you remember
each stone in that river fell from a star
and contains the vastness of God.

Hear this now, I've learned there's belief in things
you can't see, like faith, and angels, and serendipity,
and I've learned little girls should never step on battlefields
armed with only the innocence of a child. I'll be strong now for both of us,
I'll shake my soul till the glory falls out, I'll wave my holy white flag
and be soft inside, and stabilized.

©Sherri Brannon 2015

A loving send-off poem to that scared little child who still resides in me, even though I'm all grown up. I've written more than one poem about this...poetry always reveals my biggest struggles. The poems are coming SLOWLY these days...but at least they're still coming, even if I'm only writing one poem every month or two.

I'm taking an online class right now and trying to learn to draw and paint with Procreate on my iPad. It's fantastic! The name of the class is Paint & Pixels, in case any of you are interested. If you read this and would like to get on the waiting list for the class in the future, click HERE. It is taught by Ivy NewPort and Robin Laws, two wonderfully talented artists - I admire them so much and they are incredibly generous with their knowledge.

I'm just a beginner, so my girl is amateurish...this is my first figure attempt. Is it possible to feel embarrassed and giddy at the same time?? Because that's how this image makes me feel...I'm cringing at the glaring flaws, while I grin from ear to ear about the new possibilities this process brings me! The thought of creating images to go along with my poems makes me really happy. I can't wait to practice and evolve.

On a side note, I want to be sure and mention that for the beautiful woods background above, I used an image from Unsplash. I LOVE their "free to use for anything" photos. (I put the image into Glaze to make it a bit more painterly).

Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself. ~Samuel Butler