Ode to the Artist: a magical day looking at lotus pads

Sketching Lotus Pads at Round Prairie Park

Black lines briefly sketched on paper
capture our appearance but not our essence.

Your attention interests us,
although others have never before.
Your watchful eyes tell us
we are apart of you.

Can you feel our thoughts?
Can you think our feelings?
We do yours
and we thank you for committing us to memory.

For long after we’ve gone
and transmuted ourselves back into nature
our likeness will remind you that we were.
And your response will touch our hearts.

© Ken Chawkin

This poem, ODE TO THE ARTIST, was shruti, an account of what was heard, while Sometimes Poetry Happens, was smriti, the memory of what had happened. This was the first poem I had ever entered into a competition. I had read about it in the Fairfield Ledger. On Guru Purnimah Day, 1989, I received news that ODE TO THE ARTIST, Sketching Lotus Pads at Round Prairie Park had won the Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum’s Distinguished Poet Award, (1988), and was later published in the Winter edition of Treasured Poems of America. They requested another poem, and Sometimes Poetry Happens made it into their Summer edition, both published in 1990. Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum, Inc. is located in Sistersville, West Virginia. I shared the news with Bobby Lowenberg of the Fairfield Ledger and she interviewed me on winning the poetry competition. Both experiences—participating in the creative process and actually writing poems, and having the results recognized and published—gave me the confidence to keep at it. The reward is both intrinsic and extrinsic—it comes from writing, interacting with creativity—your own and Nature’s, and then sharing the results in poetry readings and getting published.

Here is a recent interview that features both of these poems: PR to poetry – how things sometimes happen to Ken Chawkin. I alluded to it in this post: Publicist and Poet @KenChawkin featured @TMhome_com. Learning to let go to let magic happen #creativity #TMmeditation.

8 Responses to “Ode to the Artist: a magical day looking at lotus pads”

  1. Poets Kenneth Rexroth and William Wordsworth Experienced Transcendence and Self-Awareness | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] a similar sentiment, but not quite as eloquently as these masters! Two earlier published poems, Ode to the Artist and Sometimes Poetry Happens, share this mysterious interacting with nature and the creative […]


  2. A profound poem from Karen Karns asks us — WHAT COULD BE MORE INTIMATE? | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] first published poem was about a creative experience with lotus pads. The editor requested another poem, which became a commentary on that mysterious interaction: […]


  3. William Stafford’s last poem now seemed prophetic—an unintended literary epitaph | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] of my poems that relate this theme was when a poem found me: ODE TO THE ARTIST, Sketching Lotus Pads at Round Prairie Park and the reflection on how it happened when it wrote me: Sometimes Poetry Happens: a poem about the […]


  4. David Whyte describes the mysterious way a poem starts inside you with the lightest touch | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] first published poem, ODE TO THE ARTIST: Sketching Lotus Pads at Round Prairie Park, was a similar experience. After several attempts at writing a poem about the lotus pads in front […]


  5. Being in Nature | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] A very early encounter with nature resulted in a beautiful poem, and my first to be published: ODE TO THE ARTIST, Sketching Lotus Pads at Round Prairie Park. […]


  6. Mary Oliver’s poem, Praying, is a lesson on attention, receptivity, listening and writing | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] An early encounter with nature inspired my creativity. It turned into my first published poem, which won an award: ODE TO THE ARTIST, Sketching Lotus Pads at Round Prairie Park. […]


  7. Thomas Merton’s golden poem, Song for Nobody | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] poem reminds me of the magic that can happen between an observer and an aspect of nature, as in my encounter with lotus pads, and the poetic commentary that followed, reflecting upon that intimate experience in Sometimes […]


  8. negative capability, reverse seeing, beauty & the desire for transcendence & unity in life & poetry | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] You can read, “Ode to the Artist: Sketching Sketching Lotus Pads at Round Prairie Park” on my blog: https://theuncarvedblog.com/2011/01/16/ode-to-the-artist-a-magical-day-looking-at-lotus-pads/. […]


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