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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Old Maps & Current Events

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  It's been a poignant week for any thinking, feeling person, hasn't it? 

 

[Quick, less-serious forward:  While keeping a close eye on the news, I've also been getting ready for an event on a much lighter note - our little downtown, after skipping First Friday for April and May, is holding a VIRTUAL First Friday this week.  Our merchants association is sponsoring a Facebook Live whirlwind tour of more than two dozen businesses from 6 to 8 p.m.  - So YOU can even join in from your couch!  (Here is a link to my own little promo for it; I'm slated to have my two minutes of fame in the middle-ish of the event.  The event will be posted as a Facebook Live tour on the Downtown Beaufort Merchants Association Facebook Page.)]

 

I've been making several items using images from my miniature antique map problem - er, I mean - collection.  So I've been entertaining maps in my mind and imagination these last few weeks. 

 

Thursday, when I was able to see some of the the moving service for George Floyd, I pondered several map-themed ideas for a haiku that might reflect these fraught but energetic times.  

 

 

old map

errors

in the legend

 

©2020 Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved. 

 

 

 

I re-wrote this in my head and on scratch paper many times.  My first attempts were too preachy, which is quite un-haiku-like.  Too much of my own voice (however well-intentioned) was apparent.  I knew I wanted to include "legend," because of its double meaning.  Other than that, I didn't want to include blatent references to my own feelings, or admonitions to do anything, or other burdens.  It was a good exercise in narrowing my focus, trying to shed my own interjections to focus on the images.  

 

When I first started my art business, I was delighted to find a late 19th Century Geography textbook/atlas in an antique shop (the first of a few I have now).  I was appalled, however, when I actually read the text.  I won't dignify the discussions of various "races" by sharing them here. But I think of the horrible influence of that polluted thinking - it seems so long ago, and yet that particular book was published only a dozen or so years before one of my grandfathers was born.  It wasn't really so long ago.

 

Just before Covid-19 stay-at-home orders, I had a meaningful encounter in front of my own house, in our fairly diverse downtown neighborhood which I love.  You've gathered from my pictures that I'm white; so is my husband, and our kids.  This incident involved a couple of young African American men (maybe slightly older than my own kids), car trouble, and some agitated behavior that frightened me. 

 

Long story short, I was initially tempted to call the police - one young man was pushing and shoving the other, yelling, pacing wildly, coming toward the house.  I decided to try not to overreact - to pray instead, and to listen to my Mom instincts and intuition during some tense moments when he made contact.  Seth was here for a visit. (Seth, who was born one month after Trayvon Martin, and with whom we never had to have "the talk.")  With Seth's calming presence and real-world de-escalation experience, I asked him to come outside too.  

 

Jumper cables.  That's all they needed.  The young man calmed down, apologizing for his initial behavior - and I tried to convey it was the potential fighting I was concerned about.  The other young man, the driver, never lost his cool with his friend, however, or with the situation.  Seth got their engine running, and everything was fine. 

 

We stood and talked for a little bit, and the young man asked for a hug, which I gave both of them, of course. He smelled of alcohol, though it was morning, and I wondered about his struggles.  Perhaps that fueled some of his initial behavior.  It also might have let his guard down in conversation, because he said, "You don't know how hard it is for us to ask you for help." That broke my heart.  

 

Many hearts have been broken, these weeks, these years, these centuries.  I cannot speak for anyone of color.  But I do hope we can all heal, together, even if slowly, following that arc that bends toward justice. 

 

Our wonderful Margaret has the Poetry Friday Roundup today at Reflections on the Teche

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Poetry Friday - Go Read with Mary Lee!

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Nuthin' to see here.  (Where did this week go?!)

Plenty to read and enjoy, though, over at A Year of Reading with Mary Lee, who is rounding up Poetry Friday this week.  Thanks, Mary Lee! 

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Poetry Friday - Postcard Gift from Joyce Ray, and Staying Home...

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

A few weeks ago, I received the most wonderful surprise in my mailbox.  Along with a couple of other treasured cards and catch-ups from poet friends in April's daily mail, an unexpected delight of art and words was nestled in the stack at the end of the month.

 

The lovely Joyce Ray sent me the postcard pictured above!  

 

First, on the outside, it features some wood engravings by Beth Krommes. (Swoon.)  I've been a big fan of hers for a long time, initially discovering her work through some of Joyce Sidman's amazing poetry.  In 2009, Beth Krommes won the Caldecott Medal for THE HOUSE IN THE NIGHT, written by Susan Marie Swanson and published by Houghton Mifflin.  

 

Just look at the delicious images above.  (Probably daily sights around Amy's POEM FARM, huh, Amy? And Tara's new digs as well??)  These vignettes are warm and charming and nurture the soul.  (And, pssstt.... the card is SIGNED! What a gift!)

 

On the back side of the card, Joyce wrote these beautiful lines adding more sensory images to the visual ones, in this haiku brimming with comfort:

 

 

 

rising bread

a feline purr, pink phlox - 

homespun pleasures

 

 

©Joyce Ray, shared with permission. 

 

I love that Joyce made a little phloxy-colored-pencil line box around the poem, and then added some wildly blooming phlox beneath it!  How did she know I'm a big phlox phan, too?! 

 

Click here for Joyce's website, where you can learn about her books and snoop around to find her blog and other goodies.

 

We've probably all been thinking about "home" more these past weeks and months, and some folks haven't yet ventured out beyond familiar walls.  Every state seems to have a different approach; here in SC it's been a strange parade of closing then opening varieties of businesses by category.  (Much of our family is in Georgia - don't get me started.  And all of my side of the family is in Florida - ditto same. Insert imaginary emoji with hand slapping forehead here.) 

 

In the Lowcountry, we feel quite fortunate that we've been able to be outside so much, with sidewalks in our neighborhood and the ability to keep a safe distance from others.  Though the crowds of folks using the Spanish Moss Trail over Mother's Day gave me pause (I was riding a bike with a mask on. I mean, I was wearing the mask - well, you know...)  I'm a bit apprehensive about this holiday weekend and plan to stay away from crowds.  We are lucky to have a front porch, which is where you'll find us when we're not working!

 

It's a strange time - I am rooting for my fellow business owners to be able to succeed, and most have signs and sanitizer handy and adhere to the 25 percent capacity rule for shoppers.  But there are folks strolling downtown without masks, too.  My little studio is so tiny I am continuing with online sales but not opening to the public yet until we get a bit further down the road. 

 

What are things like in your neck of the woods?  My heart goes out to folks sheltering in apartments in big cities. 

 

Since we're on the subject of home, I'll share a poem I wrote for THE BEST OF TODAY'S LITTLE DITTY, 2017-2018, compiled by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. (Click here for Amazon link & to see Miranda's cover art.) Laura Purdie Salas kindly mentioned it in a comment a few weeks ago, as being timely for this stay-at-home season we've been experiencing. (Thanks, Laura!)

 

 

I'll Wash, You Dry

 

 

Pile of dishes in the sink -

remnants of our food and drink.

 

Fulsome meal and laughter, too -

now we have a job to do.

 

Messy saucepan, crusty cup;

we'll need time to clean this up.

 

Spray of water, sudsy foam –

we are grateful for our home.

 

Grateful, grateful

here at home.

 

©2017 Robyn Hood Black

 

 

Thank you to Joyce for sharing some much appreciated cheer across the miles.  If you noticed the lovely personal note at the bottom of the postcard, she was referring to some earrings from my shop, artsyletters.  I have some fun pictures over on my artsyletters blog today, and geographically, one will take you back from my lovely Lowcountry and up the coast, closer to Joyce's realm....

 

Be sure to join the ever-lovely Carol at Beyond Literacy Link for this week's Roundup.  I'm grateful for our Poetry Friday neighborhood, where ALL are welcome - fresh faces and those who have been around the block a few times, like me!

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Poetry Friday - Go Enjoy Some Alphabet Soup with Jama!

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Well, my good intentions never got formed into a real post for today - will catch up over here next week.  But please visit Jama at Alphabet Soup for this week's Poety Friday Roundup.  We need poetry more than ever these days! :0)

Take good care this week. 

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Poetry Friday - Pointing to my Other Blog....

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

So, it's been a crazy week and I don't have a poetry post per se.... BUT, some of you might want to look at some lovely pictures of a new Beaufort store over at my artsyletters blog. (My linkie thing isn't showing up at moment - here's the address: http://artsyletters.com/?p=1856) There IS a connection to poetry - the young woman who just opened this shop in these very challenging times named her business, very thoughtfully, because of inspiration from a famous Robert Frost poem. :0)

(Hint: it's this one! https://poets.org/robert-frosts-road-not-taken ) Just sharing a little shout-out, waving my little flashlight in the haze.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there; extra love to those who want to be, and to those who are missing theirs. XO
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Poetry Friday - Mini Movies Blooper Reel - Takes and Mis-Takes!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers -  Happy MAY DAY!  We made it through a fulsome April.

 

Thanks for joining along in my National Poetry Month project.  I posted mini poem movies each weekday - On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I featured some of my published poems for kids, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I shared published haiku suitable for kids. 

 

I think that was 22 mini videos... You can find them all here on my YouTube Channel. (I have them in two folders there - 'Poems' and 'Haiku'.)

 

Now, if you caught my video featuring my "Hidden in the Seams" poem from Tabatha Yeatts's Imperfect anthhology, you'll know I generally have to work my way through several snarls of thread and start over when conjuring up creative projects.  That was the case with trying to learn how to make and upload videos, too!  

 

I managed to get the mini poem movies up, but not without plenty of "mis-takes" among the takes. Hope you enjoy in my blooper reel, here. ;0)

 

For a wonderful video featuring poems and creative projects for young readers who love their sports, be sure to check out Elizabeth Steinglass's Poetry Friday host post today, featuring her book, SoccerVerse!  I shared it with Morgan, whose need for some more online teacher-friendly material prompted my April project.  And, mentioning Morgan, I also need to toss out bouquets of thanks to my hubby, Jeff, for helping to film most of the movies, and to son Seth for providing several original guitar music options. 

 

Also check out this year's completed Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem, which was put to music yesterday in its finishing flourish over at Michelle Kogan's place.  And I know I'll be circling back to Jama's Alphabet Soup for her Roundup post of Poetry Month happenings across the Kidlitosphere. 

 

Now that it's May, maybe we'll have time to catch up on all that great poetry!

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POETRY MONTH - Mini Poem Movies Project Winds Up with a Haiku, "sea fog"

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Can you believe it?  We've journeyed to the end of National Poetry Month!  Thanks for joining me for my Poetry Month project(s), "I Pause for Poems" and "I Pause for Haiku," in which I've posted mini poem movies each weekday in April. They haven't been perfect, but they've been fun to make.  I've been sharing some of my published poems for kids on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and haiku suitable for kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  

 

Today's haiku is "sea fog" from on down the road - Haiku Society of America 2017 Members' Anthology.   Click here to hear!

 

And if you'd like to catch up on the other haiku or poems, check out my YouTube Channel here  and scroll through all the mini movies. Thanks for joining me!  (And, pssst... tomorrow, for Poetry Friday, I'll have the Blooper Reel!)

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POETRY MONTH - Mini Poem Movie "I turn" from The Best of Today's Little Ditty, 2014-15; Don't Say I Didn't Warn You...

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Don't say I didn't warn you about today's poem... 

 

It's from THE BEST OF TODAY'S LITTLE DITTY 2014-15, compiled by the fabulous Michelle Heidenrich Barnes.  Be sure to play the video all the way through, as it's... well - you'll have to see for yourself. But be careful. (I might have been slightly under the influence of the "Getty Challenges" - but no actual art was harmed during the making of this video!)

 

Click here for the poem, and while you're there, check out the other mini movies I've been posting every weekday for Poetry Month.  (After today's, you might be glad we've just about run out of month.) ;0)

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POETRY MONTH - Haiku Mini Movie, "hatchlings"

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Thanks for journeying on with me in my "Mini Poem Movies" project this month.  Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I've been posting videos featuring some of my published poems for kids; on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it's a haiku suitable for kids.  I hope you enjoy today's!  It's from FROGPOND, Vol. 4.3, Fall 2019.  Click here to hear it.  And click here for my YouTube Channel.  

 

Wishing you a day full of poetry. :0) 

 

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The Kidlit PROGRESSIVE POEM Parks HERE Today!

 

Hellooo, Progressive Poem Pilgrims! 

 

It's my honor to host the Kidlit Progressive Poem 2020 here today and to contribute a line.  Well, technically, two lines for the next writer to choose from.  More on that in a sec.

 

The amazing Irene Latham began this adventure and organized it every April for years.  When she could look on the 2020 horizon, though, she realized she had 142 books coming out this year, many in the Spring.  (Okay... slight exaggeration.  But not much.) Anyway, Irene looked around for someone to pass the baton to, and who should come around a bayou bend but the ever-talented and also amazing Margaret Simon!  Thanks to both of you ladies for making the Progressive Poem a beloved addition to National Poetry Month.  

 

This year, Donna up in Maine started us off, and whoa - did she ever.  She didn't simply give us a first line - oh no, no, no.  She conjured up TWO lines for the Day 2 writer to choose from! Subsequent participants could not resist this kind of fun, so this year, it's a Progressive Poem with "Choose Your Own" sauce on top!

 

Here we are in the final few days, and I must say, I love how lyrical this year's sequential masterpiece is.  You can see for yourself below, with the two lines I had to choose from in bold at the bottom of the full poem. (Note - Yesterday was Dani Burtsfield's turn at Doing the Work That Matters . Alas, some technical glitches up and got loose and ruined her plans, so Margaret paddled over and helped keep everything afloat.  Thanks, Maragaret and Dani!)  From here, the poem will go to Jessica Bigi. 

 

--

 

Sweet violets shimmy, daffodils sway
along the wiregrass path to the lake.
I carry a rucksack of tasty cakes
and a banjo passed down from my gram.

I follow the tracks of deer and raccoon
and echo the call of a wandering loon.
A whispering breeze joins in our song
and night melts into a rose gold dawn.

Deep into nature's embrace, I fold.
Promise of spring helps shake the cold.
Hints of sun lightly dapple the trees
calling out the sleepy bees.

Leaf-litter crackles…I pause. Twig snaps.
I gasp! Shudder! Breathe out. Relax…
as a whitetail doe comes into view.
She shifts and spotted fawns debut.

We freeze. My green eyes and her brown
Meet and lock. Time slows down.
I scatter the cakes, backing away
Safely exiting this strange ballet.

 

I continue the path that winds down to the lake.
Missing my breakfast for beauty's sake.
But wait, what's that delicious smell?
Something familiar, I know so well.

 

It's a campfire. I follow my nose. I see

 

a circle of friends waving at me.

**OR**

the very place I'm meant to be.

 

--- Two terrific options, right? I pondered all day.  My first impulse was the second line, as it just seemed to fit the tone of the poem and lended itself to more intimacy, I thought.  It personally felt more comfortable to my need-my-space self. But (said the little poetry muse on my other shoulder) - everybody has been isolating for weeks now, and the hunger for gathering in a group of more than two people in real space and not via a screen is a very strong pull!

 

So, I WILL pick that circle of friends, but I'll let Jessica decide whether to join them or to meander on.   Here's that stanza with the chosen line and with two options from me: 

 

It's a campfire. I follow my nose. I see

a circle of friends waving at me.

 

OPTION 1: I free up my banjo, quicken my pace

 

OPTION 2: I offer a wave but keep to my plan

 

Take it away, Jessica!  NOTE:  You'll find Jessica's post tomorrow at this link at Donna's place, Mainely Write. (And if you want to see the complete schedule with hyperlinks, you can see the list Donna posted on the first day here.  I have the list over in my sidebar, but since I'd have to add each link separately instead of copy and paste code, I just flat didn't get around to it.)

 

Keep safe and well and wrapped up in poetry.  Our collabortive poem has been a refreshing journey!

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