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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday: A Few Haiku in Times of Loss

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Fall is beautiful, and my favorite season, but it does have somber undertones. 

 

This past Tuesday would have been my mother-in-law's birthday; Jeff's mother, Marge, died early last year.  (And then my father-in-law, Reuben, died this summer.)

 

Tuesday evening, we remembered Marge with a key lime pie from Publix (one of her favorite treats), and some grocery store flowers with pink roses.  She liked to wear pink, and looked lovely in it with her blue eyes.

 

So I've been thinking a bit  about grief, and how haiku is so perfectly suited for it, with its understated expression and wabi-sabi aesthetic. Some of my poems written during the last few months of Marge's life, and published shortly thereafter, offered space for those difficult feelings.  

 

 

 

first frost

today she misplaced

our names

 

Frogpond 42:1 Winter 2019

 

 

 

waning crescent

each day she slips

farther away

 

Frogpond Vol. 42:2, Spring/Summer 2019

 

 

cold house

the children in the pictures

divide the pictures

 

bottle rockets #42, Feb. 2020

 

 

poems ©Robyn Hood Black

 

 

These poems aren't really about Marge of course – poems about her would be lively, and musical, and laced with a wicked wit.  But I suppose they offered places for me to pause along the journey.

 

Here's another one which I wrote this week, less bleak. 

 

new moon

we still hear her

in the music

 

©Robyn Hood Black

 

True, a new moon has lost its light.  But only briefly, right?  The cycle always starts over again. 

And again and again.  We remember Marge's light. And her light shines even more brightly this Thursday evening, I'll bet, as our nephew and his wife just welcomed their second baby into the world.  Marge adored babies, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren!

 

Wishing you comfort if you are facing the holidays without someone you love this year; and wishing everyone a good – simple, small, safe -  Thanksgiving. 

 

Change of plans re. hosting:  Our amazing Linda Baie is jumping in to round up everyone at Teacher Dance. Thanks, Linda!

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Poetry Friday - The Roundup is HERE! :0)

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Welcome to the Poetry Friday Roundup.  Everyone's invited! :0)

 

Do you know about "mast years" when it comes to trees?  Oaks, particularly. In a mast year, trees drop zillions of acorns on the ground, on your driveway, on your metal roof making you jump umpteen times a day, on the top of your car.... (That was a scientific description.  For a folklore-ish one, click here.)

 

Here in the Lowcountry this fall, we're crunching acorns underfoot with every step.  

 

Sometimes poets (& editors!) have a mast year.  Or at least a mast season.  

 

Take Sylvia Vardell, for example.  No sooner did she welcome her wonderful new anthology, A WORLD FULL OF POEMS (DK Children) into the world, than it was time to launch the newest collection from Pomelo Books with co-poetic-superhero Janet Wong, HOP TO IT - Poems to Get You Moving.  (Here's the link.  And here's a link to my poem in it, and a graphic with the Blog Tour schedule.)

 

This fun new anthology features a hundred poems designed to get us all up and moving around, or at least to offer some much-needed mini-breaks during a long school day (virtual or in-person), sprinkled with fun facts and inviting illustrations by Franzi Paetzold. 

 

Each poem is complemented by Sylvia's always-terrific activity suggestions, a fun fact nugget, a spot illustration, a teeny language arts or poetry connection, and a book title on a similar subject.  But wait - there's more!  In the EXTRA! EXTRA! section at the end, you'll find even MORE resources and ideas to keep the poetry, and your body, hopping! 

 

And, speaking of trees, here's a poem from HOP TO IT by our own Margaret Simon, just begging to be acted out:

 

 

ZEN TREE

 

I am a tree.

A tree is what I want to be.

I spread my branches wide. 

I stand tall.

I reach my roots into deep earth.

I grow and grow and grow.

And at the end of the day,

when the sun falls down,

and sprinkles orange all over my leaves,

I wrap myslef in a holding hug.

 

 

©Margaret Simon.  Used with permission.

 

 

 I can think of a couple of other folks who are having a mast year when it comes to published books...

 

Check out Irene Latham's website here, and visit her book pages! So many wonderful new titles, just THIS year, including one co-authored with Charles Waters, DICTIONARY FOR A BETTER WORLD, which is a favorite of one of my daughter's students in Georgia. 

 

Then there's Laura Purdie Salas's treasure trove of new titles this year... Find out about them here.  And for nonfiction lovers, Laura shared so much goodness in her Small Reads November newsletter, including a long peek at NONFICTION WRITERS DIG DEEP, edited by Melissa Stewart. 

 

All of these books would make FABulous holiday gifts, don't you think? 

 

As would Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's follow up to READ, READ READ.  It's called... WRITE WRITE WRITE!  (Click here for  more.)

 

And Jeannine Atkins's new title in the footsteps of FIDNING WONDERS, this one about math:  GRASPING MYSTERIES - Girls Who Loved Math.  (Click here for more.)

 

If you need book ideas for the wee-est of wee ones, check out Heidi Bee Roemer's books here. What little one could resist a book called PEEKITY BOO - What YOU Can Do!

 

I've already gifted Morgan, my daughter who teaches third grade, a copy of HOP TO IT, and a few others!  And other folks on my Christmas list will be getting some poetry....

 

The great thing about giving poetry is that it both enriches the recipient, and supports everyone who works so hard to create these treasures.  

 

These ideas are in NO way complete or conclusive!  MANY wonderful titles (maybe yours?) have recently made their way into the world and would make a wonderful present for some young, curious soul - or a young-at-heart one!  Feel free to mention your own suggestions in the comments, and readers can peruse those, too.

 

For the best gift ideas ever, be sure to check out Jama Kim Rattigan's "Nine Cool Things on a Tuesday" posts over at her Alphabet Soup blog.  Here's a link to the post from Nov. 3, which I am thrilled and honored to have a mention in!  (Thanks, Jama, and Mr. C.)

 

In fact, a few of us Poetry Friday-ers have Etsy shops.  Michelle Kogan offers bright and colorul and inspirational art and products sure to delight a recipient.  (Click here.)

 

Last week's host, Susan Bruck, offers colorful wool wares and more at SoulBlossomLiving on Etsy. 

 

And here's a link to my shop, artsyletters.  (By the way, I'll soon send out my little holiday postcard.  If you don't receive it already and would like to be added to my real-world mailing list, shoot me an email with your real-world address.) 

And, can you keep a secret?  It'll have a 15 percent off coupon code good through Dec. 15.  Okay, I'll tell you the code, but shhhhh.... please don't post or share widely.  It's for my special peeps!  You can enter STAR15 in the Coupon Code box, or just use this link directly.  I will be listing several new items in the next couple of weeks, so feel free to keep that handy for Cyber Week shopping, or whenever you might need a gift for a reader or writer or POET on your holiday list. 

 

Your post, I know, will be a gift to readers this week!  Please include your link in a comment below, and I'll round up old-school-style and list the links right here starting Friday morning. Happy Poetry Friday!

 

 

*******************************

 

Little Willow starts us off this week with a lovely moonlit offering at Bildungsroman.

 

Ever-busy Laura Purdie Salas shares a personal post and poem today at Small Reads for Brighter Days.  She wrote "When Hope is Not Easy" just before the 2016 election, and revisits it now, with some light from the recent one. 

 

I'm beyond humbled and delighted that Linda Mitchell grabbed some inspiration here last week and shares two original haiku/haiga - one gentle, one sharp - perfect for November. Enjoy at A Word Edgewise!

 

Heidi, who has been oh-so-busy serving on the NCTE Poetry Awards Committee (!), chimes in with an aubade in response to a Sunday Swaggers challenge. Her poem, and post, brim with "extra unexpected joy" as always, at My Juicy Little Universe

 

You might guess from his blog's title, "Poetry Pizzazz," that Alan J. Wright loves alliteration.  He shares a fun original alliterative poem today, and some bits of bewitching backstory. 

 

This lifelong dog lover is wagging away at Laura Shovan's offering today... does your dog 'help' you do yoga, too? Enjoy Laura's original poem, a couple of book recommendations and of COURSE - cute dog pix. 

 

Michelle in celebrating World Kindness Day at Today's Little Ditty, with a remarkable poem by psychiatrist Helen Montague Foster.  (I'll be sharing this post with my psychiatrists hubby!)

 

Have you seen the movie, Arrival? Have you lived through a quarantine?  And answer to either or both of those will set you up to appreciate Tabatha's offering at The Opposite of Indifference today - a poem by Natalia Conte.

 

One reason I so love Poetry Friday, beyond the delicious poetry, is that I'm always learning something new!  The lovely Janice Scully shares a perfectly peaceful post and picture today at Salt City Verse, with a reflective haiku and an explanation of "meromictic" - what a fun word!

 

At Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme, Matt Forrest Essenwine gives us a sneak peek at a new anthology featuring some poetic and artistic stars from New England - FRIENDS & ANEMONES - Ocean Poems for Children. (Is that a great title, or what?!)  One of Matt's poems in the book will have you taking a stern look over the bow....

 

More moonlight magic awaits over at Teacher Dance today, where the ever-lovely Linda shares a poetic treasure she found in an old book from the beloved bookstore where she helps out.  It's Walter de la Mare's "Silver" - how have I lived up to now without this poem? It's pure shimmer. 

 

The sparkle doesn't stop there.  Get ready for some serious ooh-ing and ahh-ing at Beyond Literacy Link, where Carol shares poems and GORgeous paintings inspired by her many recent "awe walks" in Autumn.

 

If your feet are more fidget-y than stroll-y, Kathryn Apel has the poem for you with some more HOP TO IT fun! I was delighted to 'meet' Kat in a recent Zoom gathering celebrating the release of the book.  Today, Kat shares her reading of her poem there, "Fit as a Fidget" - along with a writing prompt, too!  

 

At her Alphabet Soup, Jama offers the most delicious post featuring a delightful, diminutive kitchen diva and her multi-legged kitchen crew, who star in The Tiny Baker by Hayley Barrett and illustrated by Alison Jay.  This rhyming picture book will have you looking at any wayward bug that lands in your kitchen with a new eye!

 

I don't know exactly what time it is in Switzerland right now, but you'd have to get up pretty early to keep up with Bridget and her ever-clever way with words.  Today she enlightens us about the many mushrooms popping up all over, with plenty of puns and a fun wee poem!  (Is it a mast year for mushrooms over there?) Hopo on over to Wee Words for Wee Ones and see for yourself. 

 

Michelle Kogan is readying for an art show and also an online poetry reading through the Poetry Foundation, but she's got a few goodies to savor in the midst of the flurries, including some original haiku and art.  Good luck with all, Michelle!

 

At Lit Bits and Pieces, Fran extends the tree theme this week with a rich post of wonder, poetry, images - and even some science behind tree communication - it 'leaves' me both challenged and nourished. 

 

And twist my arm to share another post featuring haiku!  At A Year of Reading, Mary Lee brings us haiku from her daily diary (even if they all didn't make it onto Twitter).  You'll recognize our 'present moment' in many of them, with nods to current events. 

 

At Nix the Comfort Zone, Molly offers some thoughtful photographs and haiku, and an inadvertent life lesson on perspective. Thanks, Molly!

 

Kimberly Hutmacher brings us words from one of the geographical front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a somber haiku and a hopeful haiku. (I share Kimberly's frustration, as our family and extended family has experienced illness and loss because of the virus.)

 

Margaret, at Reflections on the Teche, reflects on another big news story, the election - with her couldn't-help-herself poem in response to events with inspiration from other poetic voices.  

 

Yay - Rose at Imagine the Possibilities is Hopping to It as well today, with a post featuring her oh-so-fun "Can You Wriggle Like a Worm."  Well, can you? ;0)

 

Our Dear Jan of BookSeed Studio has a Mast Year of a post today - with her responses to the election, and history, and Veteran's Day, and her beloved.  Grab a second cup of tea and enjoy all the thoughtfulness and links.  She also offers up a GREAT suggestion for a book for these times, Georgia Heard's THIS PLACE I KNOW - Poems of Comfort.  (Jan has excerpts.)

 

At There is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town, Ruth shares a poignant and powerful poem by Miroslav Holub from Naomi Shihab Nye's anthology, THIS SAME SKY.

 

True to Irene's bountiful year this year, her post today at Live Your Poem is a buffet: she's highlighting three poetry books (including HOP TO IT!) which would make wonderful holiday gifts, and she's got a poem as part of her ArtSpeak series, which is a gift across space and time. 

 

Karen Eastlund is in this week with more beautiful fall photographs and an equally lovely poem. How many shades of yellow can you think of? :0)

 

The amazing Myra brings us a voice I look forward to learning more about:  Vidyan Ravinthiran.  She has his poem "As a Child" at Gathering Books today - so powerful. 

 

--I am off to keep shop a bit - running late!  - but will return this afternoon.  Thanks to all for participating!!--

 

And... Closing out the day (well, the Eastern time one here!) is Jone Rush MacCulloch!  What a treat to get to go on so many walks in Fall woods with you folks this week, and peek at journals, pictures, art. Jone shares all three this week, part of her #Autumn Gratiku series.  AND, you can sign up for her New Year's Poem Postcard Swap, too!

 

WAIT - There's more!  Carol at The Apples in My Orchard brings us along on a trip to their beautiful cabin celebrating the warmth of this cozy getaway with some hiaku.  Ahhhh....  AND, Carol is a long time Etsy seller, too!  Check out her lovely handmade jewelry and unique face masks at CarolsJewelryOrchard on Etsy. 

 

And don't miss Susan's post at Soul Blossom Living.  It made me slow down and tear up.  She takes us on a prairie walk, with a rich long look at gratitude this November, and her poem about it.  (It's multi-sensory - she has video links, too!)

 

I am so grateful for you all.

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Poetry Friday - Helping Hand Haiku and a World of Thanks

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

What a week.  In the midst of the chaos and anticipation and general global angst, bright spots have been found.  First, a big THANKS to Jama Kim Rattigan, who kindly included some of my artsyletters wares in her "Nine Cool Things on a Tuesday" post - she does find the COOLest things, with help from Mr. Cornelius, of course. I enjoyed the delightful diversions!

 

Also, I've just started perusing the latest haiku anthology from Robert Epstein, THE HELPING HAND HAIKU ANTHOLOGY (Including Senryu, Tanka, and Haiga).  The collection includes poems about kindness between humans and non-humans alike.  It's hot off the press, and I've not had time to read much yet. But it's a refreshing tonic for these stressful days!

 

Robert was kind enough to include three of my haiku:

 

 

sorting darks and lights

my love note

in his pocket

 

HSA Members' Anthology, 2019 - A Moment's Longing, edited by Tanya McDonald.

 

 

 

blue mask she smiles with her eyes

 

 

 

hatchlings - 

beyond orange tape,

the sea

 

Frogpond 42:3, Fall 2019

 

 

And, finally, I'm running around trying to get my shop ready for our November First Friday event.  (Masks required!)  As we did last month, we'll have a table set up with cards and pens for folks to write holiday notes to deployed service members.  I was running shy of the total Thank You cards I wanted to send this month, so I asked my daughter Morgan if her third graders might want to write some. 

 

They were excited to participate, she said, and wrote them this week.  (She made a lesson out of it.)  That daughter of mine also enlisted fellow third-grade classrooms, so she'll be mailing me a whole bunch to send!  I can't wait to receive them and send them on with others I've been collecting.  Now I can get the December batch going.

 

I am grateful for TEACHERS, for all the active duty MILITARY who serve, and for our VETERANS (Happy Veterans' Day next week!).  I'm grateful for kindnesses great and small.  I'm grateful for poetry.  And, for YOU!

 

Fellow Etsy shop owner Susan has our Poetry Friday Roundup over at Soul Blossom Living today - thanks, Susan!  (You can find her on Etsy at SoulBlossomLiving - she even has a fun felted mouse kit! And circle back here next week, where I'll be Rounding Up with some HOP TO IT fun & poetic holiday gift ideas.)

 

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Poetry Friday - Coupla More HSA Haiku :0)

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! 

 

Whew.  It's been a wild ride in the Southeast the last couple of days.  Sending love & prayers for those whose lives have been forever altered by Hurricane Zeta. 

 

I couldn't believe that here on the Lowcountry coast, we were texting our kids early Thursday morning about the TROPICAL Storm that was shredding their corners of real estate in the Appalachian foothills.  Is this still 2020 or what?! [AND, at almost Halloween - past the peak, or so we all thought.]  Our crew is fine - but trees are down everywhere in their part of north Georgia. 

 

Our Cobb EMC/Gas South Literacy Week - all vitual this year - was going great... until everyone in the region (also north of Atlanta) lost power and we had to cancel/reschedule all the Zoom visits set up for Thursday and Friday.  

 

In the Lowcountry, a couple-three hundred-ish miles from the storm, we did get some wind Thursday morning. In fact, I had been putting off calling some tree folks to take care of the heavy live oak branch that was precariously balanced above our fence in the back yard... Mother Nature did not care about my excuses.  (Um, picture above.)

 

Well, to calm all our nerves, I'll share another recently published Frogpond poem, this one from the current issue. It has to do with rain but was inspired by quite a less intense afternoon of weather. 

 

 

gentle rain the wren sings through it

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black

Frogpond Vol. 43:3, Fall 2020

 

 

And, speaking of the Haiku Society of America  (Frogpond is the HSA's journal), the Members' Anthololgy for 2020 just landed in our mailboxes.  

 

Here's my poem in it:

 

 

nothing

on the line

the fisherman wades back

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black

Bundled Wildflowers - Haiku Society of America 2020 Members' Anthology 

 

 

AND, speaking of all kinds of weather, I've been thinking of our host this week almost every time I've caught national weather news stories lately, as she hails from Colorado.  In fact, I'm not quite sure whether this week she's dealing with smoke from wildfires or a snow storm... but I sure am grateful she's such a vital part of our Poetry Friday community, helping to make welcome poetry friends old and new.  Wade on over to Teacher Dance, where the ever-lovely Linda has the Roundup.

 

(And hang on tight, everyone - whichever way the political winds blow next week, and beyond, we'll need to keep our balance!) Happy Halloweeeeen!

 

(Little Family Update... It's 8 p.m. on Saturday night, and my daugher and her hubby JUST got their power back on!  They were all in blankets - dogs, too.) ;0)

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Poetry Friday - A Haiku That Seems to Work for This (Voting) Season....

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Just a short haiku this week.  As I'm posting this before the Thursday night debate starts, I'm thinking that a haiku of mine appearing in a recent issue of Frogpond might be timely.

 

 

decisions, decisions

the weight of ink

on paper

 

©Robyn Hood Black

Frogpond, Vol 43:2, Spring/Summer 2020

 

 

And, unrelated - wish me luck as I venture into my annual week of school visits north of Atlanta next week as part of Cobb EMC/Gas South Literacy Week, along with several other authors.  EXCEPT - this year, we are just venturing to our computer screens for virtual presentations!  I'm still a novice at all this (guessing many of us are?) so all good vibes appreciated - ha!  But I've been learning, and learning from mistakes... so hopefully good moments will outweigh the glitches.

 

Happy Weekending, and DO visit the ever-spirited & thoughtful Jama at her Alphabet Soup blog for the Roundup.  She and I have long shared a love of fall, and today she shares both the colorful moments and the somber shades. 

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Poetry Friday - My Poem, "Trail Ready," in HOP TO IT

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Just hopping in this week to celebrate the launch of the newest collection from Pomelo Books, HOP TO IT!  Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong have put together an oh-so-welcome collection of poems to get folks moving - perfect for young readers who have been sidelined as we all have this year.

 

I'll have more about the book when the HOP TO IT blog tour stops here on November 13, and you'll know lots about it by then because the tour will park at several wonderful blogs.  It started a couple of weeks ago at Jone's place. Yesterday the tour stopped at Kathy Temean's blog, here.  And Sylvia is telling us all about this week at Poetry for Children.

There are giveaways along the way! 

 

Congrats to Sylvia and Janet and all the poets in the Pomelo Universe for this wonderful new anthology.

 

Here's my contribution, for those answering the call of the Great Outdoors:

 

 

Trail Ready

 

We're going on a hike today!

I'll get my backpack ready.

Jacket, flashlight, extra socks –

Can you hold it steady?

Trail mix, thermos, bug spray, hat,

notebook, pencils, this and that.

 

Binoculars and whistle

dangle from my neck.

Blue bandanna, walking stick.

Map and compass? Check.

 

Through the leafy canopies

to fields, where sun is brighter –

Next time (huff) we hike (huff puff),

I'll pack a little lighter.

 

©2020 Robyn Hood Black

 

(Note to my family - hold your tongue about my pack-rat tendencies.  Thank you.)

 

Grab your own backpack and head to Salt City Verse to stuff it with poems.  Thanks for hosting, Janice!

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Poetry Friday - A WORLD FULL of POEMS!

The world needs a lot right now.  And Sylvia Vardell knows just what to fill it with - poems!

 

Sylvia's beauftiful new anthology, A WORLD FULL OF POEMS - Inspiring Poetry for Children is JUST out from DK/Penguin Random House.  I know what I'll be giving folks for the holidays....

 

With works by 110 poets, from classic to contemporary, there's something for every cup of tea in the following sections:  Family and Friends, Feelings, Animals and Nature, cities, Towns, and Travel, Fun and Games, Science and Art, Body and Health, and A World of Learning. 

 

British illustrator Sonny Ross brings the collection to life with a pastel-friendly palette, playful characters, and pops of bold color here and there (as seen on the cover).  The bright yellow endpapers let you know you are in for some word-joy.  And the large type and gracious negative space on each page make each poem inviting.  

 

And because this is a book by Sylvia, an activity section at the end provides helpful tips and ideas to guide budding poets as they pen their own poems. 

 

Our wee Rita says the best section is the one with animals.  I was delighted to see one of my own childhood favorites included, "Eletelephony" by Laura Elizabeth Richards.  I share that one in my author visits.

 

And here's another fun classic (sharing the double-page spread with Laura Purdie Salas's "Petting Zoo," in fact).

 

 

At the Zoo

 

by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)

 

First I saw the white bear, then I saw the black;

Then I saw the camel with a hump upon his back;

Then I saw the grey wolf, with mutton in his maw;

Then I saw the wombat waddle in the straw;

Then I saw the elephant a-waving of his trunk;

Then I saw the monkeys - mercy, how unpleasantly they smelt!

 

 

 

I'm beyond thrilled to have a poem of mine included, "Sincerely," originally published in 2015 in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations by Pomelo Books (Syliva Vardell and Janet Wong), and making appearances in two other PFA books, HERE WE GO: A Poetry Friday Power Book (2017) and GREAT MORNING! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud (2018).

 

It's a special treat to have this poem in a DK book, as I've been a fan of Dorling Kindersley books forever, and always have several keeping spots warm on bookshelves or balancing in piles in various places.  

 

Congratulations, Sylvia, on this wonderful, welcome, timely, and bright collection! I am enjoying revisiting favorite poems by poet friends, and favorite classics, and discovering inspiring new-to-me voices as well. 

 

For more sneak peeks into this anthology, visit Sylvia's Poetry for Children blog and scroll down to posts in recent weeks.  :0) 

 

And for a Poetry Friday Roundup all the way from Switzerland (!), visit our lovely Bridget at Wee Words for Wee Ones.  

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Poetry Friday - Old Autumn, and Letters - to Rats?

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! And - just like that - it's October?!

 

Possibly my favorite month, with bright skies and crisp air and color and anticipation of gathering with family before tucking in a bit for winter. Multiple threads in the weave, for sure, as we all balance heaviness and sorrow in the news (praying for eveyone out West right now, especially) with our own moments of joy and light in a day.  So I've got both pensive and playful here today.

 

First, these lines from Thomas Hood (I DO have to find out if there's some ancestral connection!), who lived from 1798 to 1845 and opened his poem, "Autumn," with these words:

 


     I SAW old Autumn in the misty morn
     Stand shadowless like Silence, listening
     To silence, ...

 

and, a later passage:

 

         But here the Autumn melancholy dwells,
     And sighs her tearful spells
     Amongst the sunless shadows of the plain.
     Alone, alone,
     Upon a mossy stone, 
     She sits and reckons up the dead and gone
     With the last leaves for a love-rosary,
     Whilst all the wither'd world looks drearily,
     Like a dim picture of the drownèd past
     In the hush'd mind's mysterious far away, 
     Doubtful what ghostly thing will steal the last
      Into that distance, gray upon the gray.

 

For a cathartic read of the entire poem, click here

 

But if you rather need a wry smile instead - or in addition to - I have that too, below the next paragraph. 

 

Tonight I'll finally re-open my little studio doors after six-plus months for our downtown's First Friday celebration.  (My space is small; if we get more than a person or two, folks will have to mill about in the hallway outside! And masks are required.)  I'm offering a free, optional activity if visitors want to help spread some cheer.  We'll be providing blank cards to convey messages to some of our locally based service men and women who are deployed.

 

With these thoughts of letter-writing, my heart was warmed when, searching for October inspirations, I again consulted my copy of THE ILLUMINATED BOOK OF DAYS (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1979) by Kay & Marshall Lee, with illustrations by Kate Greenaway and Eugene Grasset, mentioned a couple of weeks ago & earllier, too. 

 

Just under the listing for October 4 as the Day of St. Francis of Assisi (a personal hero), an October 5 listing explains that "There is an old American belief that you could get rid of an infestation of rats by writing them a letter and persuading them to go elsewhere.  The letter should be rolled up and put into one of their holes."  Then follows an example, a letter dated October 5,1888:

 

Mssrs. Rats and Co.,

-- Having taken quite a deep interest in your welfare in regard to your winter quarters I thought I would drop you a few lines which might be of some considerable benefit to you in the future seeing that you have pitched your winter quarters at the summer residence of ***No. 1 Seaview Street, I wish to inform you that you will be very much disturbed during cold winter months as I am expecting to be at work through all parts of the house, shall take down ceilings, take up floors, and clean out every substance that would serve to make you comfortable, likewise there will be nothing left for you to feed on, as I shall remove every eatable substance; so you had better take up your abode elsewhere.  I will here refer you to the farm of ***No. 6 Incubator Street, where you will find a splendid cellar well filled with vegetables of (all) kinds besides a shed leading to a barn, with a good supply of grain, where you can live snug and happy.  Shall do you no harm if you heed to my advice; but, if not, shall employ "Rough on Rats."

Yours,

***

 

(Are you, as I, wondering what the letter writer might have had against the poor farmer of Incubator Street?  Ha!  Still, here lies evidence that civility was once valued on many levels, and here's a raising of a glass of Victorian lemonade to the hope that it returns at the highest level.)

 

Also, another glass raised to Irene Latham for a brand new book in the nest, THIS POEM IS A NEST.  Congratulations, Irene! Here's a link to Irene's interview with the book's fabulous illustrator, Johanna Wright. 

 

AND, speaking of links, I'm delighted to join many fellow Poetry Friday pals on this list from Feedspot:  Top 40 Children's Poetry Blogs & Websites To Follow in 2020.  Click here to see the list, and many familiar faces! (Many thanks, Feedspot Folks.) 

 

The ever-civil, ever-wry, ever-compassionate Tabatha has our Roundup today here. Thanks, Tabatha! 

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Hop Over to Jone's New Digs for Poetry Friday....

Howdy!  My week got crazy and a post did not materialize.  But, our good friend Jone has the Roundup today, and she's offering sneak peeks into the NEW Pomelo Books title, HOP TO IT (which I'm delighted to have a poem in myself.)  AND - Jone has a sparkly new website.  Enjoy!

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Poetry Friday - September Snippets from The Illuminated Book of Days

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  

First - my heart breaks and prays for so many in the throes of fires and floods this week. And so many other challenges. Hopes for healing, rebuilding, peace. 

--

Here in the Lowcountry, we have had just the faintest hint of a breeze foreshadowing Fall - well, between the rain bands on the outer edges of Sally.  Cooler temps are promised for the next week or so.

 

I have a book I love to turn to with the turning of the seasons. I've shared excerpts from it before... and I think some of you have it, too? The Illuminated Book of Days, edited by Kay and Marshall Lee, with illustrations by (sigh) Kate Greenaway and Eugene Grasset (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1979).

 

It's lovely, fun, and nostalgic, with tidbits of poetry and lore and historical gems for each month. 

 

Here are a few lines and verses featured in its September pages:

 

 

   September blow soft

   Till the fruit's in the loft.

 

 

*********

 

 

         There is harmony 

In Autumn, and a lustre in its sky,

Which thro' the Summer is not heard or seen.

 

                                   Shelley

 

*********

 

 

Fruit gathered too timely will taste of the wood,

   will shrink and be bitter, and seldom prove good.

So fruit that is shaken, or beat off a tree,

   with bruising and falling, soon faultie will be. 

 

 

*********

 

And,  my favorite...

 

 

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,

Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead

Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing.


                                        Shelley

 

***

 

Now, follow those falling leaves over to Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme, where Matt has a pile of poems to jump in for this week's Roundup.  Thanks for hosting, Matt!

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