mama scout lab e-course

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

poetry bombing the alley

In the Mama Scout e-lab I am facilitating this month (and next month too, if you want to register) we are working with ideas of parenting as performance art and doing little acts of public art. 

I live for this stuff. We have sent messages in bottles, left messages guerrilla style in public spaces,  and tried to be open to situations were we could spread kindness

Many nights I walk my old dog down the moonlit alley behind my house. 

There is a tree with such huge leaves, that when I am standing there waiting for my dog to pee, I always stare at them, transfixed.

They remind me of turning book pages when they blow in the breeze; they have such heft.

And they beg to have poetry written on them. 

On a piece of vellum, I wrote out the poem, All Things Pass by Lao-Tzu for all those who pass, and sewed it gently onto a branch. It was a windy day, and as soon as it was attached it began blowing around and fluttering like a leaf. A leaf poem that had married itself into the being of the tree.

This little, tiny act of art fueled me for the rest of the day. 

I am not sure what the affect on my son was other than he gets to grow up thinking it is normal to have a mom that sews beautiful words to her neighborhood.


  1. Amazing! Do u think any of your neighbours will add to it?
    And do they know its you?

    1. i do not think anyone knows its me - unless they know me or my blog. it was gone within a day (and not laying around) so i hope someone took it. it was a great poem. i am going to leave another and then more around the hood.

  2. Amy,

    Have you seen Rivers and Tides by Andy Goldsworthy? It's one of my favorite art films and also my inspiration for a lot of the arty things we do outside with my kids. We've tried collecting leaves and laying them out as a colorful graduated line, Made stick and leaf sculptures on the playground, and strung flowers and hung them up. The best part though is watching our creations decompose, or get scattered and destroyed by other kids, it's a good lesson in not getting possessive about your creation and enjoying the experience of seeing how other people interact with it.

    Thanks for the poetry bomb! Sewing anything to a tree is uber cool.

    1. Yes! I LOVE that film (so do my kids). We have not watched it for a few years though, maybe I should watch it again. Thanks!

  3. I love this so much, Amy! This summer my daughters and I took our sidewalk chalk on our walks and left graffiti all over the neighborhood- of the sunshines, rainbows, flowers variety. We left huge messages on the sidewalks in front of our friends houses. Neighbors are still telling me how much they loved it.

    1. thanks Allison! I would love to walk out and see some happy graffiti on my sidewalk. so simple and so huge at the same time.


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