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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Wild Peace by Irene Latham and Inversnaid, Too....

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Oh, I've missed you so.  I'm still spinning more plates than logistically possible, but I wanted to express my GRATITUDE for Poetry Friday peeps new and old right here before Thanksgiving, and offer a glimpse into a new book I'm grateful for, too.

 

Last weekend we made a trip over to our new-to-us second home (for which we are beyond thankful) in the colorful foothills of the SC Upstate.  We bought a place on two acres last summer as a way to more readily connect with our busy grown kids, not too far from Asheville (where our son and his girlfriend are) and just a couple of hours up the road from our daughter and her hubby's home in north Georgia.  It's become a welcome respite, not terribly far from civilization but woodsy enough to evoke a sigh, rocking on the front porch gazing at the trees.  Trees which were still blazing gold and red and magic last weekend.

 

I had tucked into my bag the copy of WILD PEACE I'd just bought, written by our own wonderful Irene Latham and illustrated by Il Sung Na (Roaring Brook, 2021.) Our last morning there, though I needed to get back to beat the post office closing time because of Etsy orders, we scheduled a Spectrum repair/service call because that's when we could make it happen.  After the young man left, I stole away for a scant few moments of quiet outside, Irene's book in hand.  (We'd actually spent the whole weekend catching up with friends and family who were either coming through, staying nearby, or otherwise free to meet up in the area.  Blissful visits, but not much downtime!)

 

On a previous trip I'd discovered this random little rock outcropping in the front yard, crouched near trees. I dubbed it "Frog Rock" because, to me, it calls to mind a frog - what do you think?  Anyway, it makes a handy seat for resting and solitary pondering, so I claimed it.  (Though I'd share, too, if you ever come to visit....) I took WILD PEACE down the hill to read and savor it there, even if only for a short time.

 

When the world fills with noise and fury,

and the days pass, 

all rush and scurry, it's time to step into the forest.

 

So begins our character's escape from her busy home - with her loud and busy siblings - into a joy-filled journey through the natural world. The illustrations lead us on, from initial surroundings rendered in gray, into the child's colorful and exubrant artwork, which leads us further still into the vivid, wild woods.

 

I love that all creatures are celebrated:

 

Peace rises on

spindly legs

and coils around

a nest of eggs.

 

Peace expresses itself in all kinds of wondrous ways in the wild - you'll have to read the book yourself to discover more! Here's Irene's post about it from a few weeks ago. 

 

While enjoying the lilting and energetic poem-story, I also thought this book would pair perfectly with (again) our own wonderful Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's FOREST HAS A SONG, illustrated by Robbin Gourley (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013). Learn more about this book here.

 

So I'm grateful to Irene for encouraging me to pause this week for some colorful, quiet moments out in the "wild" - which always take me back to the childhood I've never outgrown, in which I rambled for endless hours in the scrubby, piney, perfect Florida woods. 

 

In our mountain house, which is kind of a Celtic Cabin as it were (rustic decor with nods everywhere to our Scottish, Irish, and British roots), I put up the picture of an excerpt of the Hopkins poem I've shared before, delighted to have discovered it in a public space in Edinburgh during our 2018 family trip. I never tire of it, so please indulge me in another sharing.  (We had the good fortune of visiting Loch Lomond, the site of this poem's subject.)

 


Inversnaid

 

by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89)

THIS darksome burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.

A windpuff-bonnet of fáwn-fróth 
Turns and twindles over the broth
Of a pool so pitchblack, féll-frówning,
It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.

Degged with dew, dappled with dew
Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through, 
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet; 
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.


Yes - Long live the weeds and the wilderness!  

 

Wishing you and yours a Thanksgiving of joy and good health, or comfort in the absence of those.  If you need a little peace, I know just the book to suggest... it would make a great gift! And Irene kindly sent on this link which includes WILD PEACE, FOREST HAS A SONG, and more woodsy wonders.

 

(Speaking of gifts, I'm still planning on getting a holiday artsyletters newsletter out - I've been covered up in orders for weeks, but want to wave hello!  If you'd like to sign up, just click here.)

 

The multi-talented Carol has our Roundup this week at Beyond Literacy Link - Thanks, Carol!  She also has a dazzling autumn gallery to share with contributions from many talented folks, and this Wordsworth quote in the mix:

"Wild is the music of autumnal winds amongst the faded woods."

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Poetry Friday - Go See Matt!

Hi, Friends - First, don't give up on me! ;0). I'm once again tapping out a howdy from the road but plan to be back on track next week. Happily covered up in Etsy orders & trying to get a wee newsletter out. I hope your November is going well! 
Matt has this week's Roundup over at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme: https://mattforrest.wordpress.com/

Thanks, Matt! 

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Poetry Friday - Go See Tabatha!

Hellloooo!  I'm waving from piles of artsyletters stuff.  Had every intention of putting up a real post this week, but....

 

Thanks for the good wishes for Literacy Week last week.  Great week as always, and - exhausting! I did 20 presentations from Monday through Thursday, and another longer one at a special needs school on Friday.  Then got outta town just before the World Series traffic came in. (Go, Braves!) 

 

Instead of putting my Etsy shop on vacation last week, I kept it open but extended shipping times.  Whoa, Nelly!  I'm still covered up in orders.  (Happily!  But I haven't had time to list new items, send out my artsyletters newsletter, or attend to Poetry Friday.) Will try again next week.  In the meantime, HAPPY NOVEMBER!  And please visit the ever-amazing Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for this week's Roundup.  See you next week!

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Poetry Friday - a Wave from the Road, Holding a Lamp...

Robyn with "Wattson" in 2019

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  

 

Just a wave this week, as I'm on the way to my annual week of author visits in schools in North Georgia, as part of Cobb EMC & Gas South's Literacy Week.  The picture above is from our last time all in-person-like, in 2019.  (Some authors have always presented virtually, but most of us travel from school to school.)  Last year, it was all virtual - a challenge, but we did it!  Though that was interrupted by severe storms which wiped out power across counties for days, so that "week" stretched into November, too.  

 

This year, most of us are in-person, but there are several who will present virtually as well.  It's always a blast, and always completely exhausting. I look forward to sharing the poetry love with hundreds of kids. Or more - I'm not even sure of the exact counts this year on my schedule!

 

In honor of the vital work our energy companies and co-ops do to keep our lights on and our heat going in the winter, here's a poem by Emily Dickinson for the week:

 

The Poets light but Lamps — (930)

 

by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)


The Poets light but Lamps —
Themselves — go out —
The Wicks they stimulate
If vital Light

 

Inhere as do the Suns —
Each Age a Lens
Disseminating their
Circumference —

 

(Remembering two giants of children's literature whose lights now shine through their many works and the people who loved them - Gary Paulson and Jerry Pinkney.)

 

Here's to letting your own light shine....

There is always something bright and beautiful over at Jama's Alphabet Soup - head over for the Round-up.  She & Mr. C. have pretty pumpkin cookies....

(& Let me go ahead and wish you a Happy HALLOWEEEEN - I'll be back in touch after that!)

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Poetry Friday - Go See Bridget & Discover the 10 10 Anthology!

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  I am covered up over here this week, but please do pay an aTENtive call to Bridget at wee words for wee ones, and learn all about the hot-off-the-press 10 10 Anthology!  (I'm honored to have a poem in it myself.) :0)

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Poetry Friday - Squirrel Update, Morning Glories, and Haikupedia...

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

Just a couple of nice surprises this week, and another recent one.  I'm finding I appreciate those more and more….

 

First, the pictures.

 

Out of the blue I received an update on that baby squirrel I rescued a few weeks back.  (I blogged about that here.)  The wildlife rehabilitator who took the wee one on for the long term texted me this adorable picture.  And though I initially thought it was a 'he' – I was evidently wrong.  It's a SHE.  Here's what the rehabilitator wrote:

 

She is doing really well, no injuries - she just needs to be bigger.  Maybe a month and she will be released if it's warm out, but she is sweet.  I named her Robin.  It's funny because her adopted brothers are Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Owl, and Roo, so Christopher "Robin" just worked.  Thanks for saving her.

 

Her unexpected update made my heart happy.

 

Another more subtle surprise recently is that the  rambling morning glory vine that used to confine itself to the back fence has journeyed to the side deck stairs and covered the wonky gate as well.  When we had two beautiful red hibiscus blooms this week, I decided to take a phone picture and also discovered the gentle purple flowers photobombing the larger plant.   If a plant can be effusive, that describes the morning glory vine here lately.

 

Finally, a surprise from a couple of months ago.  I was thrilled to open an email and discover an invitation to submit a bio and picture for The Haikupedia project over at The Haiku Foundation.

 

Haiku poet and editor Tzetzka Ilieva has been helping with this massive undertaking and explains it this way:  "The objective of this enormous project, initiated by Charles Trumbull and other members of The Haiku Foundation, is to create an online encyclopedia of everything about haiku." 

 

I had heard about it and knew that noted poet, editor, publisher, and haiku historian Charles Trumbull was at the helm.  I was thrilled years ago when he was still editor at Modern Haiku and he accepted some of my work, along with offering an encouraging word or two, which I greatly appreciated.

 

Here's a one-line haiku of mine from Modern Haiku just a few years back:

 

 

one door closes morning glories

 

 

 ©Robyn Hood Black.  Modern Haiku, Vol. 49.1, Winter-Spring 2018

 

 

You can learn more about Haikupedia here.

And here's my page there; I'm thrilled to be included.  [Also, very grateful to the wicked camera skills of Ginnie Hinkle, my son's girlfriend, for the new head shots!]

 

 

Here's hoping any surprises coming your way this week are pleasant ones. For inspiring poetic surprises, be sure to visit our amazing Irene, rounding up Poetry Friday for us at Live Your Poem.  Thanks, Irene!

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Poetry Friday - Bragging on the Teacher Daughter, and a Kahlil Gibran Poem...

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! Happy October. 

 

When our 29-year-old daughter, Morgan, was three years old, her "Mother's Morning Out" teacher at our church pulled me aside.  "You know, don't you," she whispered in her soft and kindly voice, "Morgan is the leader of the class."  Well, I wasn't terribly surprised to receive such news, as Morgan had been giving me driving directions from her car seat for a while at that point. 

 

That take-charge attitude served her well growing up, and continues to flourish in her chosen profession as an elementary school teacher for several years now.  She shepherds her third graders with confidence, compassion, and the not infrequent dance party. (Let's just say a new generation of youngsters knows lyrics to Backstreet Boys songs by heart.)

 

Last week, Morgan learned she had been chosen as her school's Teacher of the Year! It was a banner week in her classroom, as her exuberant charges had also won the Spirit award at the weekly assembly, and got to keep the trophy until this week.  Of course we are proud as punch of her, and not really surprised, knowing how many times she's been found underneath a desk with a troubled child who has shut down emotionally, or cheering on her kiddos like a crazy person at a Field Day tug-of-war match. And did I mention that *poetry* is a regular feature in her classroom? :0)

 

So CONGRATS to our Morgan, and here's a bit of a philosophical take on teaching by Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931):

 

 

On Teaching

 

Then said a teacher, Speak to us of Teaching.
And he said:
No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.
The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.
If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.
The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.
The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.
And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.
For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.
And even as each one of you stands alone in God's knowledge, so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his understanding of the earth.

 

 

This poem appears in The Prophet  (Knopf, 1923) and is in the public domain.

 

Many thanks to ALL you educators reading this right now - your gifts and commitment are appreciated! One of these superstars is hosting our Roundup this week:  Catherine at Reading to the Core. Thanks, Catherine!

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Poetry Friday - Go See Laura!

Oops - Friday snuck up on me again and I didn't scare up a post in time.  Please enjoy all the offerings being rounded up by Laura Purdie Salas today - See you next week! (& Thanks for hosting, Laura.)

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Poetry Friday - My "Good Night" Poem in Highlights Hello!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - 

 

A lovely surprise in the mailbox this week.  My poem "Good Night" is on the first spread of the new issue of Highlights Hello! It's a wonderful issue, "all about bedtime."  In snappy words (with the occasionall "tips" for parents and caretakers), colorful artwork, fun activities, and smiling (& snoozing) babies, I have a feeling this magazine will be a repeat treat night after night for the youngest little listeners/lookers. 

 

It's my third time with a poem in Hello, and it's always an honor.  My poem comes to life in the gorgeous artwork of Denise Hughes, who imbues a dreamy-cozy city rooftop scene with sparkly magic. 

 

Here's the poem:

 

 

Good Night

by Robyn Hood Black

 

Crescent cradle

In the sky

Sings a silver

Lullaby.

 

Twinklestars

with golden light

Wink and kiss

The world good night. 

 

 

 ©2021 Highlights for Children.

 

The inspiration for this poem came when I was driving over the old swing bridge from the islands-side back into downtown Beaufort one evening.  It wasn't black dark yet, just that lovely indigo ombre sky, and the bright crescent moon hanging over downtown reminded me of a cradle.

 

Wishing you and yours light and love this weekend! For lots of enlightening poetry and posts, please visit the multi-talented Denise at Dare to Care

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Poetry Friday: Of Squirrels and Skies

 

Greetings, Poetry lovers! A different kind of post this week...

 

Maybe my father-in-law, who passed away a year ago July and whose birthday is today (Sept. 10), was playing a little joke.  How else do I explain the baby squirrel that fell right into my path on my gravel driveway Wednesday afternoon? Poor thing clumsily ran a few feet and collapsed beside a big potted rosemary bush. 

 

Twenty years ago, on Reuben's birthday and the day before 9-11, I was picking up then-six-year-old Seth from their house late in the day, and grandfather and grandson greeted me with a surprise – an injured baby squirrel.  Somehow I managed to keep the little guy alive overnight (its eyes weren't even open yet). When horror upon horror struck the next day, I became determined that while the world might be falling apart, I was not going to let that helpless creature die.  (That squirrel's story had a happy ending; After keeping him through the winter, we released him the next spring.)

 

So on Wednesday this week, I was immediately transported back to that haze of days.  This time, the squirrel was a little older (about six weeks old), but I feared, worse off. It wasn't moving, and I could see blood on its nose and mouth. Its eyes barely opened and closed.  It was on soft grass, so I let it be.  Mama Squirrel didn't come. Checking on it again, I noticed some large ants in bothering range.  Then some drops of rain.  Though I still thought the creature might quietly exit the world, I couldn't just leave it there to suffer with harassment and rain.

 

I wrapped it in a blanket and put it in a tub in a box under the carport.  I tried giving a bit of Pedialyte in a dropper, but it wouldn't swallow. Soon enough, storm system Mindy's outer bands lashed our area for two straight hours, with near-constant lightning, sideways wind, and unreal amounts of rain.  When it was finally safe enough to venture out, I was afraid to look in the tub.

 

The wee thing was curled under blankets in the corner – a bit cold I'm sure, but not too worse for wear. I transferred it to a small crate and put it on the screened front porch (and tried a little liquid again). It still had a bloody nose, but I was beginning to wonder if that was actually from hitting its face when it fell rather than some massive internal injuries.

 

I headed out to PetSmart and Walmart for puppy formula and a tiny pet nursing bottle, and a cheap warm blanket to cut up for more layers.

 

Trying to remember what had worked two decades ago, I mixed both substances (later reading that you are actually supposed to use only the rehydrater first). I was equipped with syringes and the little bottle. After some persistence on my part, I was amazed when the little animal took the bottle, grasping it with front paws. 

 

I also heated a sock full of raw rice in the microwave, put it into another sock, and placed it in the crate. This helped keep the baby warm from time to time.  Mostly, it just wanted to sleep.  Which I didn't do much of that night.

 

Rising long before sunrise, I checked on my snoozing charge.  It didn't rouse much to drink, so I tried again later.  Mindy, in the meantime, sent more rain, flooding a few streets and our entire back yard. Couldn't blame the little fella (finally ascertained that) for wanting to burrow and hide, but with some coaxing I was able to get him to drink a bit more.

 

This season-of-life time around, I realized a busy little city neighborhood was not the best place to hand-raise a squirrel.  All those years ago, we had 12 acres and two sets of extra little hands to help. So from our vet's office, I got the name of a wildlife rehabilitator in our area.  (Technically, there are laws here against keeping squirrels without a permit anyway.  But getting them to a rehabilitator is okay.)  The kind voice on the other end of the phone and I met up at a shopping center, and she graciously took on another misplaced baby. She already had others she was rearing, and had received a copule of new calls after the storms. 

 

It was hard letting him go, but a family farm on two acres with a competent caretaker was definitely the best thing for my furry September surprise.  I so appreciate folks who volunteer to care for needy animals.

 

Thanks for reading this epistle;  I'll keep the poems short. 

 

The first is a haiku I wrote on the 10th anniversary of 9-11, back in 2011:

 

 

same blue

as ten years ago

empty sky

 

Notes from the Gean, Dec. 2011

 

 

And, here, an excerpt for September 10 by Percy Bysshe Shelley in THE ILLUMINATED BOOK OF DAYS, edited by Kay & Marshall Lee (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1979):

 

 

      There is harmony

In Autumn, and a luster in its sky,

Which thro' the Summer is not heard or seen.

 

 

As we all pause to remember this weekend, my hope and prayer is for harmony and lustre in the days ahead.

 

Thanks to the ever-talented Tricia for hosting the Roundup this week at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

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