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Get ready to hear from northern Illinois’ “prose pros." Poetically Yours airs Fridays during Here and Now at 12:31 and All Things Considered at 6:18 p.m. Hosted by WNIJ Arts Reporter Yvonne Boose, you will hear voices from northern Illinois poets as they share their words about the world around them. This weekly segment will give you a moment of pause and reflection as your wind down the week. If you would like to submit a poem for consideration, please send submissions to yboose@niu.edu

Poetically Yours Ep. 72 - Creativity can change lives

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Kira auf der Heide - Unsplash.com
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Welcome to Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week’s segment features Rhonda Parsons.

Parsons discovered she had a talent for writing when she elected to take creative writing at Hononegah High School. The first assignment was not a poem, but a story inspired by the wind. To prepare for the assignment, the class went outside, linked themselves together and ran into the wind. She said it was such a unique way to become inspired. The story was to be read out loud with a piece of music accompanying it. She chose instrumental music, and the wind was metaphorical. Hence, the title: Written on the Wind. That story was the first of the positive feedback she received that semester. It encouraged her to continue writing after the semester ended.

Since then, she has received an award from Rock Valley College and the Rockford Writers' Guild, for her book, “If A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words.” She’s also shared her vision in newspaper editorials and performed publicly at Holy Day celebrations.

Parson said the reason for her success lies in the words of one of her favorite poets, Robert Frost: "no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader."

She is excited about the opportunity to share her poems with new people. The reason is an event which occurred several winters ago. She was looking out the window. Most of the ground was covered with snow, except for one green patch. To most people, it would just be grass. However, Parsons said she has been blessed to hear the "voice" of nature. Thus, the grass had a message: the world is waiting for your vision.

Besides writing, Parsons enjoys painting, hiking, meditating, and playing with her family’s chihuahuas. Several years ago, she took a class at Wilmette Institute called Bahai Faith and the Arts. Two things resonated with her:

A quote from James Joyce about the ability of art to "create,” and the function of the sympathetic nerve, as explained by Abdul-Baha.

Before the class, she thought the sympathetic nerve just communicated within the body, but it communicates with the soul too. That knowledge left her awe-struck, and she had to paint that knowledge into words. The result is “Power In A Pen Stroke.”

Power in ink and paint

Power, power to create

the uncreated conscious of the human race

The artist, yes, has powers sublime

the chisel and stone awaken the mind

make us like Rockmen Guardians

reaching great heights

Oh, the power of Terese Agnew to carve the Divine

Triangles, circles, and squares called Mrs. Jones Many Faces

the beauty of abstract thinking she enables

and tangled up in patterns, Zen becomes me

Oh, the power of the pen stroke to ignite the Divine

Van Gogh’s Starry Night

Kinkade’s works of light

and Rockford's Downtown Murals

transform this dark, dreary world into a clear moonlit night

Melodious melodies make the sun rise

splendors on the horizon I see

in the inmost corners of my mind

colors of light and love, colors of the Divine

Oh, the power of music notes to “tune me“ in to the Divine

I sparkle like diamonds to learn the story of a jeweler

and pattern myself to perfection at mosaic and tile

The grittiness of Eastwood and Hallmark tearjerkers

Avatar, Hidden Figures and other true stories

take me to another world, make me part of their story

Human we are

though we come in different colors, sizes

Human we are

warmed by One Light Divine

Oh, the power of the cinema to make us shining “stars”

The beauty the eyes behold, the vibrations that please the ear

The brush impressing on the canvas soul

What power, what power, what power

do they have to break off these nether world shackles

and spark the Divine inside?

Side by side, dark and light

Send signals up the spine

Soul “sees”

Soul “hears”

and strives for the light inside

Power in a pen stroke

Power in ink and paint

Power, power to create

the uncreated conscious of the human race

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the Ground Truth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.