Monday, February 21, 2011


"We Cling To Life However We Can"
Elsha Bohnert (2011)
Ink on paper, 8.5" x 11"

As an added challenge, members of the poetry group I'm in, are writing linked poems -- poems that are linked together by their last line.  It works like this.  We each take a turn writing a poem that begins with the last line of the poem by the previous poet.  For example, Norma's poem ends with the line, "We cling to life however we can."  Since I follow Norma, I must begin my poem with that same line.  Or, I can use it as the title for my poem. 

As I was mulling around my brain for ideas, I started doodling.  The drawing above is the result of my mindlessly running a gel pen over a piece of recycled paper, thinking about how I cling to life.  Or, how I cling to anything, no matter how foolish or false -- things like long-held illusions, old grievances, secrets... 

But the phrase, "We cling to life however we can," mostly evokes tenderness in me.  And tenacity.  I think of people living in utter poverty, in survival mode, with terminal illness, brain injuries, and other disasters. Talk about wobbling between life and death, scraping at the edges...  My friend M, a stunningly original artist, struggles with the effects of the Hiroshima bomb.  Another artist friend has been ill and living in survival mode for the longest time.  Yet both still count their blessings.  There's something heroic going on.
I look at my doodles and think... yeah, life is precarious. We turn this way and that.  Not knowing.  Never knowing.  Yet clinging to it however we can.

Now, if I could also just mindlessly doodle up a poem...


  1. Very nicely stated, Elsha. On the other hand, I can never understand the mindset of suicide bombers. Why kill themselves and others, too?

  2. Yes, Gigi, there is so much in the world I don't understand. There's even much in myself I don't understand.