The Test/Heartfelt (Voice and Vision 2021)

Voice and Vision is an annual collaboration between Airdrie and area artists and writers. We meet in May, each bringing an initial piece, and we are randomly paired. We then create a response piece — the author a response to the artist’s work and the artist a response to the writer’s work — which is revealed at the Grand Gala in September. This year, I was paired with Jean K. Blackall. This post features my initial piece, The Test, and Jean’s response piece, Heartfelt. Next week, I will post Jean’s initial work and my response piece.

Owl returns stolen shoestring to Cormorant
Heartfelt When I began working on this collage, the cormorant, all in black, suggested hijab to me — I spent a few years in Saudi Arabia. I could not get that out of my mind, and then the terrible crime of a young man running down a family in London occurred and I just had to make this cormorant a female in hijab. The painting is about repentance (of our society) for the way we segregate and separate Muslim people, leading to young people learning hatred rather than love. That is the understory of the painting, but it is also about the repentance for things said, unsaid and done between friends. Jean K. Blackall, artist. (acrylic and mixed media with hand-dyed paper and found objects; 16x 20 inches)

Cormorant sulked in his basement.
He was angry at old Hooty Owl.
“He’s stolen my favourite shoestring,
That light-fingered, treacherous fowl.”

“We used to be very best buddies
Which many folks thought really weird,
But, oh, we had such fun together
Playing o’er river and field.”

Owl, who’d taken the shoestring,
Sat up in his tree, all forlorn.
He looked at his purloined possession
Once prizéd but now oh so scorned.

“This shoestring, I thought, would be perfect
To spruce up my family’s nest.
But now I see I was mistaken
For friendship is by far the best.

“I miss my old friend, Mr. Cormy,
Estranged is not how we should be.”
He sighed, and he made his decision
Way up on the top of his tree.

Owl picked up that tattered old shoestring
And flew with it back to his friend.
Said, “Cormorant, I am so sorry,
I hope I can make some amends.”

“I regret my rude rash act of thievery.
Your shoestring I gladly give back.
It’s only a thing – I have plenty –
It’s friendship that I truly lack.”

Cormorant looked at his shoestring.
He sighed, then he smiled. “Old Friend,
I missed you much more than that shoestring.
Our spat can now come to an end.”

The moral of this little story
I hope you, Good Friends, take to heart.
A “Thing” is just not worth the having
If it’s going to drive you apart.

#VoiceAndVision #ArtistAuthorCollaboration #NonsensePoem #SocialCommentary #Friendship #Repentance #Othering #Forgiveness #MargaretGHanna