the catch of the light
the curve of a shoulder
the image that just keeps returning
the way a string of words plays on the tongue
the haunting melody
the merry tune
the story line that begs to be written
the young woman and her lover (young man or young woman)
the clay that asks to be molded
the fingers itching to draw in charcoal, pencil, or pastel
the hands twitching for the feel of the brush, the paint, and the spatula knife
Michelangelo felt the form in the stone and released it;
Georgia O’Keeffe’s sensual and suggestive flowers;
Frida Kahlo’s pain, anguish, and exotic beauty;
Kate Chopin writing against convention;
Zora Neal Hurston too;
Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Ishmael Reed
making Black voices heard and Black lives matter
Horace Pippin, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and Mary Cassatt
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jimmy Santiago Baca, and Amy Tan
But where does it start
That creative spark?
With the right encouragement,
do we all have it
or only the very few?
But what about the children who are not given the chance?
Who in poor schools have no recess, or music, or art, or poetry?
Who have test prep, metal detectors, books they can’t take home,
frustration and rage
What happens to those children’s special ways of seeing?
Is it never given the chance to spark and is it snuffed out in the dark?
Depriving the world of visions, and voices, and stories
so remarkable, their absence
hurts us all?
Kathleen Murphey is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Community College of Philadelphia. She is married and the mother of three girls who are rapidly transforming into young women. She hopes they find the world a kinder and gentler place for everyone.