Poet’s Corner: Tattoos, The Indestructible Canvas of the Soul, Voice Recognition 1966

Here is the latest installment of Poet’s Corner, presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group.

(Honoring the 50th Anniversary of Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”)

songs are like tattoos…
on the skin of my soul.
in the voice of my memory.

to receive

forever marks
on my heart,
my soul,

sing and
for the
remainder of my days.

Donna M. Rudiger

~ ~ ~ ~

The Indestructible Canvas of the Soul
The Artwork of Kenjiro Nomura – Cascadia Art Museum

The sign painter’s tools became
megaphones for truth and resiliency.
Incarcerated without justifiable cause, he
refused to permit his life to be paused.
A man’s heart can be broken, but the
soul and spirit are stewards of promise.
The canvas of the soul is the medium which conveys
adjudicated truth of circumstance, revealing
the darkness of man’s inhumanity to man.

Creative energy persistently flowed through paintbrush and pen,
sketching and articulating his experience on
storyboards of canvas and paper.
His subjugated voice roared reality and correctness,
shouting in colors of survival, adaptability and victory.

Images of black windows in his paintings were
transfigured to messages of light,
seeds of hope and promise
secretly germinating with
revelation for future generations.

Kenjiro’s freedom in 1945 released new synchronous energy,
validating his undeniable place in art history.
Contining to nurture his artistic abilities as an
imperative for individuality and mental health,
his passion to paint modernist images
from grief and loss
propelled him to the status of
“prophet on canvas”.

Donna M. Rudiger

~ ~ ~ ~

Voice Recognition 1966

It was the year of a silence so deep, only my spirit could hear it.
My generation sacrificed talented future leaders and fathers of our children.
My cousin Buddy returned from ‘Nam in a body bag.
His third term of service as an assault helicopter gunner abruptly ended,
spawning seeds of depression and despair in my family.
I bolstered my courage listening to Simon and Garfunkel’s “I am a Rock”!

Dylan crooned about “the times they are a’changin’”,
Peter, Paul and Mary placated our emotions with “Blowin’ in the Wind”;
Barry McGuire billowed prophecy in the truth of “The Eve of Destruction”.
The Jesus Movement was expanding across the globe, while
Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream”, incited unprecedented courage and hope!
In the shadows, Janis Joplin championed screams for all of us.

It was my junior year; I was an active member of the Debate Team.
Every spring the local VFW sponsored a debate forum on a current political topic.
For spring 1966, the topic was the Vietnam War.
When given the opportunity to speak, I postured a question…
“What is that sound I hear?”
I ranted about the “sounds of war”…gunfire and bombs,
heart cries of trauma and fear, crashing aircraft and jet-fueled fires,
the wailing of innocent children slaughtered by the war machine, and
unforgettable reverberations manifested by war on the next generations.

I was astonished when I was awarded second place in the debate,
but not as surprised as my Father who now recanted
his position of “when I want your opinion, I will give it to you.”
After this recognition, I had earned my “voice” and his respect.

Our nation has participated in a keening cacophony of war noise since 1861.
Are we really listening, learning and pursuing
what we are called to do as stewards of the written word?

In retrospect, as I compiled memories and annotations to compose this prose,
I realized the debate was my first assignment as a “messenger”,
a mission which permeates all my writing, both past and present.
My voice is an anointed roar; the enemy retreats at the adjudication of truth!!!

Donna M. Rudiger

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Donna began writing poetry and prose during her adolescent years living in southeastern Pennsylvania. An active participant of several writing groups in the Puget Sound area, she is an award-winning EPIC poet and teaches poetry workshops. Her work has been published in Soundings from the Salish Sea in 2018, the Skagit River Anthology in 2020 and previous issues of the My Edmonds News Poet’s Corner. She was one of several poetry readers for Epic Group Writers Poets at the 2022 Day of Remembrance for Japanese Americans held at Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds. She’s a retired technical writer and enjoys filming the wildlife near her home in the Cascade foothills of Arlington. You may contact her at donna.beamer66@gmail.com.

  1. Donna, these are marvelous!! I would hope the descendants of Nomura see the poem dedicated to his resiliency.
    Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Judith…..it as an incredible honor to be part of the Nomura exhibit. So much truth expressed through paintbrush and pen!

    1. Thank you, Kizzie…..Joni Mitchell is a poet-extraordinare and has inspired thousands of us with her work! We are blessed to have her in our generation!

  2. Donna you have managed to capture and communicate the initial thoughts and power of a well seasoned poet.
    The ability to set the tone of each of your three poems, in the first stanzas of each poem, is a skill and a salute to your powers of observation and mastery of words.

    1. Thank you, Jerry…..I believe my involvement with EPIC Poets has matured every aspect of my poetry journey. Thank you for recognizing my work and inviting me to be part of this amazing art form! You bless me, Brother!

  3. Thank you everyone for your appreciation and encouragement of my work. It is an honor to be part of the Edmonds Art community and the support of writing friends and fellow poets has enriched my life tremendously. Keep making Art…..Art heals lives!!!

  4. Donna, Donna, your vocabulary and how you articulate complex and yet basic things. Thank you~

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