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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - For the Birds this Week!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - and Bird Lovers!

 

Our wonderful Round-up host today, Christie over at Wondering and Wondering, issued a call for bird poems for anyone so inclined.  Oh, I am ALWAYS inclined for birds.  I'm also a bit jealous about the educators workshop she participated in this summer with the Cornell bird folks in NY... Swoon!!!

 

We usually take our wee doggie Rita for a walk after dinner, sometimes around the neighborhood and sometimes on the Spanish Moss Trail at the end of our street.  I'm always craning my neck (ha - meant to do that?!) to see who's out and about among the tree canopy, power lines, or marshes as the sun sinks toward the horizon.

 

A few nights ago, thinking about the Poetry Friday bird-theme, I had a couple of treats on our walk.  

 

Here's the rather silly wordplay that sprouted from our sunset saunter:

 

 

Walking at Dusk, Tickled Pink

 

 

Woodpecker - pileated.

Spoonbills - roseate(d).

Birdwatcher me - très elated!

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

 

Those birds really ARE that pink, and they fish by swinging those curious bills horizontally back and forth along the surface of the water. 

 

Find out more here, and then click over for more about those equally magnificent pileated woodpeckers.

 

In case you missed my post last week, there are several birds in it!  I shared animal pictures from our Scotland/Ireland trip.  Over at my art blog, I shared a bunch more trip pictures of animals in art, images, and other related curiosities.  Check it out! :0)

 

Enjoy flocking over the the Roundup, and feathery thanks to Christie for the ornithological advenures in poetry!  And, not sure this will work, but here is a link to a video I posted on Facebook featuring those spoonbills. :0)

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Poetry Friday - Animals! TWO BY TWO, Trip Pictures, and New Books to Crow About...

 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

 

If you might indulge a few more trip pictures (with no promise that these are the last), I thought I'd share a brand new animal-themed book with a romping rhyme, and a general celebration of our non-human friends today. (Keep scrolling down after the post, if viewing on a computer, to see all of the animal pictures and the book cover at the bottom. IDs and locations are in the caption at the very bottom!)

 

 

Upon returning home from our amazing Scotland/Ireland family adventure this summer, I realized I had snapped several pictures of animals along with the castles and misty vistas.  Of course, I thought to myself upon this discovery.  My life has always been animal-centric, benefiting from a free-range childhood in the woods of Florida, and a lifetime of sharing life with the furred, feathered, hoofed, and scaled, and 30-plus years as a vegetarian. 

 

 

On our first full day in Edinburgh, a pigeon came to call at our apartment window overlooking James Court. We exchanged pleasantries.  I never thought conversing with birds was unusual, since I've done so since I was little, but my kids once gently let me know that not everyone goes around acting like Snow White in the forest scene in the original Disney movie. (Why not?)

 

 

This week I had a tête-à-tête with a broad-winged hawk (from a safe distance, yard to pine tree), letting it know that, No, I would not be putting my tiny Chihuahua back on the ground any time soon, thank you.

 

 

Anyway, as is my practice with close encounters of the animal variety, while in Scotland I looked up pigeon "spirit medicine" and found that it held perfect messages for the beginning of a trip that originated in vials sent off to Ancestry.com. 

 

 

"As a totem, the pigeon teaches us to return to our roots and explore our heritage. …  Pigeon also serves as a reminder that we come from a clan and are not alone."

https://www.thoughtco.com/bird-totems-4062050

 

 

Yay, pigeons!

 

 

And yay, books (especially ones with poetry!) which celebrate our fellow animals.

 

 

In 2011, it was my privilege to coordinate a children's poetry retreat with Rebecca Kai Dotlich for the SCBWI Southern Breeze region.  Among our wonderful attendees was long-time member Lisa Lowe Stauffer  Lisa's first book for children, TWO BY TWO, a board book by Zonderkids, has just been released! 

 

 

On her website, Lisa mentioned our SCBWI poetry retreat and an assignment Rebecca gave everyone.

 

 

"TWO BY TWO started as a simple, steady poem about Noah's Ark," she writes, noting that the first lines haven't changed.

 

 

On the first colorful page we find animals entering the ark:

 

 

Two by two,

 

Board the boat.

 

Shut the door.

 

Time to float.

 

 

The monkeys become bored, however, and soon they want to do much more than float.  In fact, they "free the zoo" so that all the animals can party like it's, well, a long long time ago, BC.

 

 

Illustrator Angelika Scudamore's bright and lively characters are appealing and full of expression.  Young readers/listeners will have fun pointing out all the different animals on each spread.  The trim size is a generous 8 X 8, perfect for sharing with a wee one in your lap.  Here is another taste of the fun verse:

 

 

Anaconda limbo,

 

Tigers race in pairs.

 

Ring toss on

 

the caribou,

 

Pin the tail on bears!

 

 

Did I mention this was a FUN book?  Congratulations, Lisa and Angelika!

 

 

Interestingly, another rhyming board book was born not too long after that poetry retreat.  Prolific children's author Gail Langer Karwoski penned THANK YOU, TREES (Kar-Ben Publishing, a division of Lerner) – a terrific book to share with any inhabitant of the planet. (Here's my blog post about it.) 

 

 

Other Poetry Friday regulars in attendance that weekend included Doraine Bennett and Irene Latham.  (Did I miss any other PF folks?)  Irene has written about LOTS of animals in her novels and picture books.  Keep an eye out for LOVE, AGNES: POSTCARDS FROM AN OCTOPUS (Millbrook) coming soon to a bookshelf near you!

 

 

One last shout-out. While in Edinburgh, I got to catch up with my buddy Elizabeth Dulemba, and Jane Yolen joined us for lunch.  (She and Elizabeth had a literary event together in Edinburgh that week.) Elizabeth blogged about our meet-up here.   She also blogged about TWO BY TWO with an interview with Lisa and Angelika here

 

 

Elizabeth has lent her rich artistic talents to a book written by Jane with her son, Adam Stemple.  This wonderful new book from Cornell Lab Publishing Group, CROW, NOT CROW, debuts  August 28. (Here is Jane's blog post about it, with peeks inside the pictures from Elizabeth here.)   

 

 

I can't wait to add it to my bookshelf, right next to our Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's EVERYDAY BIRDS.  Young and not-so-young readers who love birds will soon be crowing about CROW, NOT CROW! 

 

Now, flap on over to Nix the Comfort Zone, where the Magnificent Molly has our Roundup.  [What?  MORE trip pix, you ask?  Well, click on over to my new post at artsyletters for a bunch of "animals in images" (& other related curiosities) from our trip!]

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Poetry Friday - Wordplay over at Mary Lee's! (& my artsy newsletter info)

 

Quick Wave from the Front Lines of Summer!  Somehow Friday rolled back around before I was poetically ready.  Be sure to visit Mary Lee for the Roundup - and for a fun, blitzy poem. 

 

Since tomorrow is another wonderful "folk arrival day" at Chez Black, and since it's also First Friday downtown and my shop is, um, a disaster at the moment... I didn't get a post together.  But I did get an "enhanced" artsyletters newsletter out Thurs. eve. - a TRAVEL EDITION with pictures!  If you're intersted, shoot me an email and I'll forward it to you.  (You can sign up for future newsletters on the right side of the page here.) 

 

Happy Weekending!

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Poetry Friday - Scotland & Timely Verse by Gerard Manley Hopkins

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  We've been blessed with company since returning from our trip to Scotland and Ireland, and I've just taken up a wee space at a gift shop downtown for some of my artsyetters offerings, so I am still playing catch-up with everything else!

 

But I wanted to share a few lines from our dear old friend, Gerard Manley Hopkins.  He went to Scotland in 1881, and upon visiting Loch Lomond, wrote "Inversnaid."  Here's a link to the entire poem, and here are the lines pictured above:

 

 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.

 

 

These words and other literary quotes on the outside walls of The Scottish Parliament were just some of the diversions which slowed my progress down The Royal Mile as we walked to Holyrood Palace.

 

We would all go back to Edinburgh in a heartbeat, and I have a feeling we will!  After all, among its many attributes and siren calls, it's The World's First UNESCO City of Literature!  (More on that here.) 

 

The beautiful Hopkins verses seem so poignant and relevant here across the Pond this week, with the potential for heartbreaking environmental losses with attacks on The Endangered Species Act, and, pretty much everything else offering thoughtful stewardship of animals and plants and places we can never replace. Sigh.

 

Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet!

 

For this week's Roundup, Catherine at Reading to the Core is celebrating GREAT MORNING, the brand-newest Pomelo Books poetry book!  (I'm thrilled to have a poem included.)  Catherine shares her own inspired and inspiring poem in the collection, "Walking for a Cause."

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Poetry Friday - Thwarted by Mother Nature

Greetings! I miss you all. I was planning on jumping back into the Poetry Friday pool this week.... But,  alas, the crazy storms around here have knocked out our internet and cable. So, sending warmest wishes from my phone!  Go soak up all the poetic goodness at My Juicy Little Universe, where the amazing Heidi is rounding up this week! http://myjuicylittleuniverse.blogspot.com/?m=1

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Poetry Friday Quick Wave & Go See Tricia! :0)

July Greetings!  

 

We DID make it back to the States after a FABulous trip to the British Isles... more soon!  I've been up to my elbows in paint and maps and glaze and such in the studio, and we've been happy to have Seth in and out since the trip, so I'm still getting my logistical ducks in a row.  Summer can be a bit loose like that!

 

Poetry Friday is being hosted by the lovely Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect, where lots of folks who have their acts more together than yours truly this week will be sharing links.... Enjoy! ;0)  

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Poetry Friday - I Hear Bagpipes....

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

We are gearing up for our family "Ancestry" trip to Scotland and Ireland this month - Can't wait!  Except that I still have some 'ready' to get.... 

 

I think some Robert Burns (1759-96) is in order, from a wonderful old book (un-repurposed!) I have:

 

 

CONTENTED WI' LITTLE

Tune:  Lumps o' pudding

 

 

Contented wi' little, and cantie wi' mair,

Whene'er I forgather wi' sorrow and care,

I gie them a skelp as they're creepin' alang,

Wi' a cog o' gude swats, and an auld Scottish sang.

 

I whyles claw the elbow o' troublesome thought;

But man is a soger, and life is a faught:

My mirth and gude humour are coin in my pouch,

And my freedom's my lairdship nae monarch dare touch.

 

A towmond o' trouble, should that be my fa',

A night o' gude fellowship sowthers it a';

When at the blythe end of our journey at last,

Wha the deil ever thinks o' the road he has past?

 

Blind Chance, let her snapper and stoyte on her way,

Be't to me, be't frae me, e'en let the jad gae:

Come ease, or come travail; come pleasure or pain,

My warst word is- 'Welcome, and welcome again!'

 

 

(For help with some of those words, here's a link to a 1920 book on Google Books with a few definitions!)

 

Most of the Scots in our family tree were already over here by the time Mr. Burns was born in Scotland.  I've been staying up way too late, too many nights, chasing ancestors and rabbit trails through the brances of my Ancestry.com family tree! My family is threatening an intervention.  I even made a side trip off the interstate through South Carolina recently to go pay my respects to the bones of some newly-discovered Quaker ancestors buried in a small, historic cemetery in the middle of nowhere.... These folks were as old as our Mr. Burns, part of the Ulster Scots-Irish who came over and meandered down through the Carolinas and over into the midwest.  But I digress.

 

Christmas before last, I made my hubby and kids spit in vials and said we'd plan a trip according to where we were from.  We're all very, very, very British! (My brother happened to do the test about the same time, and so did my mother, so it's been especially fun comparing generational DNA results, too.)

 

So off to Edinburgh and Dublin it is, with a couple of day trips to the countryside.  We have ancestral connections in every corner of Great Britain, actually - Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland - as well as Ireland.  We'll mainly focus on the Celtic roots this time. 

 

What I've discovered is that basically we've got "family" on all sides of every historical conflict over there, it seems.  Sigh.  This clan attacks that one; this country fights its neighbors - and yet somehow folks cross lines and marry and have babies. Then they grow up and this group fights that group, etc. etc. The same tune across the globe, I know, across the centuries.  We can't take peace for granted, that's for sure. 

 

Speaking of clans, I've been a bit tartan-crazy in the studio lately.  I've begun making items using a couple of circa 1930 small books, published in Edinburgh, featuring tartans and coats of arms for clans and septs. When I discovered some mid-century Murano glass beads called "Scottish agate" (because they mimic the actual stones), I bought a couple of vintage necklaces to repurpose, too.  I'm having fun combining these with the tartan images, clipped and tucked under glass cabachons. 

 

I also bought an older book on the same theme on Ebay a week or two ago (didn't pay a lot for it)... I was thrilled to receive it and discover what a lovely little treasure it is!  It's pictured above.  It was published in 1891 and is just too lovely for me to dismember.  The printed tartan colors are wonderful, and - the endpapers!  The gilded edges!  And gilded design just inside the covers! It's quite safe for now and makes a delightful photo prop. 

 

Oh - just for fun, I included a pic of "explorer" necklaces I made for Morgan and myself.  100-year-old maps, cuckoo clock chain, vintage telescope charms, vintage Middle Eastern charms (she got my 1 percent in the DNA too), and some fun contemporary metal beads and compass charm.  I'll make some more of these this summer.  Hers features County Fife, where I've got one line of my family and a line of my hubby's back hundreds of years to the same place... different clans.  But same place! And that is happening quite often on my ancestral explorations, both across the Pond and in pre-and post-Colonial migrations here. 

 

My necklace is the British Isles, with a touch of the Western edge of Europe. Which is appropriate, because I JUST found out in my research that "Hood" is not English, as my brother and I thought, but was originally "Hoed" - and, DUTCH!  As in, came-from-Amsterdam-to-New-Amsterdam-before-it-was-New-York Dutch.  But that's another story.... [And, I hadn't really paid attention before, but the splotch of color over the Great Britain region on the Ancestry.com DNA map covers that edge of Europe right beside it, including the Netherlands.]

 

I'll be back with more stories and poems in a few weeks - wishing you a swoon-worthy start to June!  Buffy has just the post to get us in the swing of summer, over at the Roundup.  Enjoy!

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Poetry Friday - Biscuit Crumbs - a few Southern Haiku

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Haiku Society of America, the HSA Southeast Region has published an anthology of haiku, senryu, and haibun by members.  Editors for the project were Regional Coordinator Michael Henry Lee, along with Terri L. French and David Oates.  

 

The collection is titled Biscuit Crumbs, taken from this wonderful poem by our fearless leader:

 

 

biscuit crumbs

making a memory

from scratch

 

©Michael Henry Lee.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission. (Thanks, Michael!)

 

 

All the works in the collection are infused with a distinctive Southern flavor.  

 

Here are the haiku by yours truly that were selected.  The first is previously unpublished, and the other two appeared in issues of Acorn.

 

 

anoles 

in brown and green

the story changes...

 

 

-------------

 

 

home again

twists and turns

of the live oak

 

Acorn, Spring 2012

 

 

------------

 

 

outgoing tide

the losses I keep

to myself

 

Acorn, Fall 2015

 

 

Acorn is one of my favorite journals.  Here is a poem of mine in the current issue:

 

 

winter's end

clusters of blossoms

on the half-dead tree

 

Acorn, # 40, Spring 2018

 

 

poems ©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

 

Many thanks to Michael, David, and Terri for their hard work in putting together this anthology. I'll enjoy dipping into it again and again, and it doesn't come with calories like real biscuits do!

 

Speaking of Southern flavor, saunter on over to Reflections on the Teche, where our beautiful Margaret is sippin' Luzianne iced tea out on the bayou, collectin' all our poems this week....

 

Wishing everyone a good and safe Memorial Day weekend.  Special gratitude for all who serve in our military, and prayers for any military family touched by loss. 

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Poetry Friday - Royal Wishes! (& Oscar Wilde)

 

Greetings, Poetry (& Royal Wedding!) Lovers -

 

For those of you on my side of the world, is your alarm set?  My daughter Morgan will rise early in Georgia Saturday morning and I'll do the same here in South Carolina so we can catch the Royal Wedding in Real Time (& text back and forth, I'm sure)! Truth be told, while we're delighted for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, we really just want to see Princess Charlotte as an attendant.

 

The world needs a good ol' happy ritual, and it certainly needs more love.  And there's an American in this wedding… so, it's kind of our patriotic duty to tune in, right? ;0)

 

I've caught bits of the PBS "Royal Wedding Watch" specials this week. I always love it when historian Lucy Worsley shows up.  In the first episode, she popped in to explain how Queen Victoria established so many wedding traditions we still enjoy, wearing white dresses among them.  When the eldest daughter of Victoria and Prince Albert, "Vicky," was wed, she carried some myrtle in her bouquet, from a plant grown from a spray that had been a gift from Albert's grandmother to the queen.  The story goes that sprigs from that very same planting have been used in royal bouquets ever since!  I've come across some accounts calling this last part a myth, but then many others still support it, so I'm going to enjoy the historical and botanical connection.

 

Hunting for a myrtle-infused poem to share today, I found "Flower of Love" by Oscar Wilde.  You remember Oscar (1854-1900), the flamboyant writer who was born in Dublin and pursued his literary career in London? From his lively mind and fraught life he gave us many wonderful quotes, including:

 

I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.

- Oscar Wilde

 

Here are the first few and last few stanzas from his "Flower" poem.

 

 

Flower of Love

 

    Sweet, I blame you not, for mine the fault 
was, had I not been made of common clay 
I had climbed the higher heights unclimbed 
yet, seen the fuller air, the larger day.

 

    From the wildness of my wasted passion I had 
struck a better, clearer song, 
Lit some lighter light of freer freedom, battled 
with some Hydra-headed wrong.

 

    Had my lips been smitten into music by the 
kisses that but made them bleed, 
You had walked with Bice and the angels on 
that verdant and enamelled mead.

 

 

    Yet I am not sorry that I loved you - ah! 
what else had I a boy to do, - 
For the hungry teeth of time devour, and the 
silent-footed years pursue.

 

    Rudderless, we drift athwart a tempest, and 
when once the storm of youth is past, 
Without lyre, without lute or chorus, Death 
the silent pilot comes at last.

 

    And within the grave there is no pleasure, 
for the blindworm battens on the root, 
And Desire shudders into ashes, and the tree 
of Passion bears no fruit.

 

    Ah! what else had I to do but love you? 
God's own mother was less dear to me, 
And less dear the Cytheraean rising like an 
argent lily from the sea.

 

    I have made my choice, have lived my 
poems, and, though youth is gone in wasted days, 
I have found the lover's crown of myrtle better 
than the poet's crown of bays.

 

(Find the whole poem by scrolling down here .)

 

I'll say hello to Wilde's statue when we are in Dublin this summer! 

 

I've taken this whole royal wedding thing as artistic inspiration and come up with a few new items in my Etsy shop to celebrate.  Click here to see the necklace in the photo above, and click here to see a few brass royal coats of arms pins/bag tags with antique laundry pins, as well as a couple of Scottish coats of arms glass cabochon key chains (illustrations clipped from vintage books).  Lots more of the Scottish tartan/clan items to come… we'll be visiting some family ancestral sites around Edinburgh before we go to the ones near Dublin!  More on all that soon. 

 

Now, hop in your carriage and go share some royal waves with Rebecca at Sloth Reads. (Psstt... she's got a giveaway of a fanTAStic and oh-so-funny book that my husband and I bought - just for ourSELVES! - a few months ago.) Cheerio!

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Poetry Friday - Get Moving with some Pomelo Books Poetry Picks!

The Spanish Moss Trail, Beaufort, SC.

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

It is downright warm this week in the Lowcountry.  Our little house is on the corner of the road from the historic downtown district to the Spanish Moss Trail, a rails-to-trails-type paved fitness path that goes on for miles. This time of year, our sidewalk plays host to extra walkers, runners, bike-riders and of course lots of strollers and dogs in tow.  (Sometimes even a cat in tow.) All on their way to the trail!  I love seeing folks out enjoying the weather and being active.

 

I'm sure you've consulted your copy of THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY® FOR CELEBRATIONS from Pomelo Books and discovered that May is National Physical Fitness & Sports Month

 

And you no doubt found Merry Bradshaw's wonderful poem, "Let's Go" –

 

Stretch High

Stretch Wide

Jump Forward

Jump Back …

 

Enjoy the rest of the poem with Pomelo Books on Pinterest .

 

May is also National Bike Month, and opposite "Let's Go" in the book, you'll find Michael Salinger's "Bicycle Dreams."

 

Speaking of bicycles, hop over to THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY® FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL and catch Irene Latham's poem:

 

 

BIKING ALONG WHITE RIM ROAD

 

 

We jump

    jolt

 

as wheels bump

    bolt.

 

We spin

    descend

 

across mesa-topped

     islands.

 

We loop

    swoop,

 

fly past parched

    arches.

 

We keep pace,

    race

 

chase schooling clouds.

 

 

©Irene Latham.  All rights reserved. Used with permission. (Thanks, Irene!)

 

 

Also check out Irene's "The World According to Climbers" in the same volume!

 

If basketball is your thing, you'll enjoy Avis Harley's acrostic poem, "Future Hoopsters," 

also in the book.  Click here to read it on Sylvia Vardell's Poetry for Children blog.

 

For an Avis Harley acrostic poem for the younger set, this one about baseball, look up "Last Try" in THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY® K-5 Edition.   While you're there, go ahead and hop around like a kangaroo with Allan Wolf!  You can find this jumpy poem featured on Kenn Nesbitt's PoetryMinute website, too!

 

These are just a few poems from Pomelo Books anthologies to get you in shape this month. 

 

As for me, I do a bit of gentle yoga and a good bit of walking, but still …. I was rearranging cool-weather clothes for warm-weather clothes in my closet this week, and this poem  arrived in my head.

   

 

WOMAN OF A CERTAIN AGE WORKS OUT

 

 

My waistline waltzed right out the door…

 

 "Wait!" I yelled. "Whadja do that for?!"

 

It disappeared without a sound

 

except these words – "I'll see you 'round!"

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

 

(PS – My older brother does triathlons.  Sigh. )

 

 

Jump, bike, or otherwise propel yourself on over to Jama's Alphabet Soup, where you'll find this week's Roundup and all kinds of wonderful goodies to work off!

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