Robyn Hood Black - children's author, poet, artist

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Hanging with fellow Georgia writers (from top, l-r) Tracy Walker, Heather Kolich, Donna Bowman, (bottom, middle) Janice Hardy and Paula Puckett
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Susan Rosson Spain, Robyn Hood Black, Elizabeth Dulemba, and Myra Meade at the Hall Book Exchange in Gainesville, Ga.
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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Simple, Poetic Holiday Gems...

December 21, 2017

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, holidays, Christmas poem, New Years poem, old poems, ponderings

It's been a week... a year, in fact, if you want to know the truth. Some years are like that!

Since posting about the loss of Beaufort's Bennett last week, we swung to the other side of the emotional spectrum with a visit from son Seth, who found out while here that he got into Emory's Candler School of Theology for next year, with good scholarship news as well.

And then, Thursday, we had to say goodbye to the kitty Seth had gotten as a young boy. Lancelot had a good, long life, but it's never easy parting with a beloved four-legged family member.

My recent weeks have also been filled with artsyletters orders, so that's been great - but busy. As I'm still toting around a boot for the Achilles I re-injured last summer, some things just didn't get done this holiday season. Postcards instead of actual cards. And, written on the ones to folks I usually send little holiday goodies to, just a note saying, "Packages aren't happening this year - but sending love."

My hubby set up the tree after Seth got here, and Seth hung some ornaments. I was still hanging after he drifted out of the room. At some point I looked at the tree, looked down at the ornament box, and back at the tree. Despite the fact that several ornaments were still inside the box, I closed the lid. The tree was full enough, for this year anyway.

I finally just bought ingredients and loaf pans for cranberry bread. Maybe it will get made. Maybe some loaves will be given away. And maybe another reason I gave myself a pass on the home front is that we'll be travelling - three little trips - in and out this holiday season to see family, rather than hosting folks here.

So in the spirit of less-is-more because that's all I can manage this year, I went hunting for a simple holiday poem or two. I found a couple of gems in the 1952 edition of THE ARBUTHNOT ANTHOLOGY OF CHILDREN'S LITERATURE, a volume that my mother-in-law loaned me years ago and that somehow I still haven't quite returned....




Of gladde things there be four, ay four:
A Larke above ye olde nest blithely singing,
A wild Rose clinging
In safety to a rock, A Shepherd bringing
A Lambe found in his arms,
And Christmasse Bells a-ringing.

That makes me smile so!

And, because this time next week we'll be getting in from Hither and heading right back out the door to Yon, here's an early New Year's poem.


by Rachel Field

Last night, while we were fast asleep,
      The old year went away.
It can't come back again because
      A new one's come to stay.

[Rachel Field lived from 1894 to 1942. She won the 1930 Newbery Medal for Hitty, Her First Hundred Years, and penned the gorgeous and beloved poem, "Something Told the Wild Geese."]

Wishing you and yours a lovely holiday season, and remembering those for whom holidays, and winter, are tough. The solstice is just behind us now, so on toward the light of a New Year! (See you in two weeks.)

Follow the light to this week's Roundup, graciously hosted by our beloved Buffy.


  1. December 21, 2017 10:13 PM EST
    It is always tough to say goodbye to a faithful furry friend, even when you know they've had a good long life. Thankfully life seems to give us good times to help us with the bad times. A very Merry Christmas to you and yours!
    - Jane the Raincity Librarian
  2. December 21, 2017 10:33 PM EST
    Oh, Robyn, I'm still dealing with an Achilles tendon issue too. I injured mine almost 18 months ago. I've been to specialists, PT, worn the boot, used meds...ugh! This has been a different kind of year for me too, but also filled with many blessings. Wishing you lots of love and happiness this holiday season and in the coming year. xo
    - Linda
  3. December 21, 2017 10:49 PM EST
    So sorry to hear about your furry pal--but big congratulations to Seth on his next venture! Thanks for sharing Gladde Things and New Year's Day--wishing you a glad holiday and boot-free new year, my friend.
    - Buffy Silverman
  4. December 21, 2017 10:49 PM EST
    Thanks for those kind words, Jane - and a very Merry Christmas to you & yours, too!

    Hi, Linda - Arrghh. Sorry you are still dealing with that as well. My Achilles is doing much better - but my PT, in her own words, doesn't "trust me" these busy holiday weeks. (The nerve...! ;0) )

    Hi, Buffy - Thanks so much for hosting all of us this week! And appreciations for all those good wishes. I'll take 'em! Happy New Year to you and your wonderful crew.
    - Robyn Black
  5. December 21, 2017 10:57 PM EST
    My hubby popped his achilles, right after we made an offer on a house. Surgery. Cast. PT. Long recovery. Long scar. All these years later, he doesn't pay it much mind, but when it happened, it clipped his wings. I'm sorry to hear about your losses, but happy for you that your son is home and that you are shedding obligations in favor of rest. Take good care and Happy Holidays!
    - Brenda
  6. December 21, 2017 11:38 PM EST
    I still have my Arbuthnot Anthology, though a later edition. I had to purchase it for the Children's lit class. You've made me want to get it out, Robyn. Both poems are just right for the ending celebration and the ending of the year. Sometimes in life, one does have to say "that's enough" as you did, and that's also "just right". Glad you're busy with business! Happy Holiday Travels to all!
    - Linda Baie
  7. December 22, 2017 5:29 AM EST
    What a roller coaster! I'm so glad there are so many blessings to temper your losses, but am sorry for those sorrows and struggles. Saying goodbye to a beloved pet is tough and that loss sure does linger. Thanks again for hosting this week. I love Gladde Things---elegant simplicity! Enjoy the holidays, both hither and yon. And, here's hoping you can give the boot the boot sometime soon!
    - Molly Hogan
  8. December 22, 2017 7:28 AM EST
    Thank you for this post and for all your posts this year. Hope your Christmas and New Year are beautiful and simple.
    - Ruth (
  9. December 22, 2017 8:43 AM EST
    virtual hugs coming to you Robyn. What an intense few weeks you've had. I love, love, love the idea of Walmart Ingredients. I think there are poems there.
    - Linda Mitchell
  10. December 22, 2017 10:06 AM EST
    Congratulations to your son. A good friend of mine graduated from Candler many years ago. So sorry to hear about Lancelot. It is tough to say goodbye. Enjoy your holidays. It sounds like less-is-more is a good plan! The two poems are just right, too.
    - Kay Jernigan McGriff
  11. December 22, 2017 12:36 PM EST
    Hi, Brenda - thanks for all. Actually, I did rupture mine 7 years ago; no issues at all until I stressed/overused it again in June. (The boot has been trying to keep further catastrophe at bay!) Tendons do take forever to heal. It would heal faster, I'm sure, if I did actually rest - ;0) ! Happy Holidays to you & yours!

    Linda, I want to look through this particular anthology more, too - a good plan for when things (hypothetically) settle down after New Year's!

    Many thanks, Molly - wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and lots of inspiration in the new year! :0)

    Oh, Ruth - Thank YOU for coming by and for always giving us so much to think about and feel with your posts all year long. Merry Christmas, and Here's to 2018!

    Grabbing those virtual hugs, Linda - thanks! The wreath cost half, if that, of the pre-made ones even at Walmart, so I was happy. ;0)

    Hi, Kay - Candler/Emory is such a fine school; Seth is really excited. Glad you enjoyed the poems, and wishing you all a "just right" Christmas holiday.

    - Robyn Black
  12. December 22, 2017 2:41 PM EST
    It's been a rollercoaster, for sure. You're smart for letting go of what isn't going to get done comfortably.
    Hats off and congrats to Seth!
    - Tabatha
  13. December 22, 2017 4:54 PM EST
    Loved the little poems you shared Robyn, especially "New Year's Day," I'll have to look for more by Rachel Field. I can totally relate to the hecticness that you've experienced. My shop was busy too, and I have barley sent out any cards, along with being very sick the last week–ah well, and I'm also looking to the light of the coming year! Thanks for all, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    - Michelle Kogan
  14. December 22, 2017 8:54 PM EST
    Thank you for the simplicity of your poem offerings. I understand the need to say "This is enough," and I am glad for you that you have been able to say it. I am so sorry for your injury and for the loss of your beloved pet. It's difficult to face both even in ordinary seasons. May the closeness of family be your "enough" this year.
    - Joyce Ray
  15. December 22, 2017 10:32 PM EST
    Hey, Dear Tabatha - thanks for all. And we're pretty excited for Seth!

    Hi, Michelle - Congrats on the busy season - :0) - but sorry you got sick. Hope you are feeling peppy again soon. Glad you liked the poems; I want to seek out more of Rachel Field's poetry too. I've always loved the geese one.

    Joyce, very kind all around - thank you. We are thrilled we'll get to see our kiddos and both sides of the family, with quite a range of temps between locations, it looks like! Wishing you and yours much love and joy.
    - Robyn Black
  16. December 23, 2017 7:42 AM EST
    First, the poems. Oh, I love these both, and didn't know them (though I know and love the other Fields poem you mention). Thank you for these.

    Now, for you. Good Lord! What a lot of joyful and sad things lately. Less is more. I love your Christmas tree moment. Take care of yourself and lower your expectations, Robyn. Sending love and thanks for your art and spirit.
    - Laura Purdie Salas
  17. December 23, 2017 9:39 AM EST
    Lovely poems, Robyn. Thanks for the lovely gifts at the end of a crazy week. I couldn't find a few of my usual decorations either. Hmmm. Trolls or fairies messing with us, I do believe. Happy everything! -- Christie @
    - Christie
  18. December 23, 2017 9:50 AM EST
    Robyn, when I heard the news about Lancelot, I went and reread the poem you had sent to me in 2014, "A Cat's Heart." I hope you'll go back and reread too.
    - Diane Mayr
  19. December 23, 2017 9:57 AM EST
    Yes, I agree that less is more! This has been an interesting year. I love your cheerful spirit, Robyn! Thank you for sharing these simple gems.
    - Kiesha Shepard
  20. December 24, 2017 6:15 AM EST
    Thank you for sharing these sweet poems, Robyn. I love "Something Told the Wild Geese" and Hitty, but somehow never made the leap that they were written by the same person! I'm a big fan of the "less is more" philosophy; it often keeps me sane! Best wishes to you and your family this holiday season!
    - Catherine @ Reading to the Core
  21. December 24, 2017 8:48 AM EST
    Your emotional pendulum has sure been swinging! It's the arc of life, isn't it -- great joys and great sorrows...and everything in between. Wishing you and yours a bit more "in between" in the coming weeks. Enjoy your travels and your people. The rest...let it go!
    - Mary Lee
  22. December 24, 2017 6:51 PM EST
    Hi, Laura - wise words, and thank you for the kind ones, too. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year!

    Happy Everything to you, too, Christie - and I love the idea of Christmas trolls or fairies hiding our stuff - ha!

    Oh, Diane - thank you for that. I actually thought about that poem (and you and your kitty) twice this year, when May died in the spring and then with Lancelot this past week. I'll find it and re-read.

    Hi, Kiesha - glad you enjoyed and thanks so much. Hope your new year is full of lots of simple gems!

    Catherine, I keep having to remind myself about the less-is-more approach -;0) - but it's often what is needed. I didn't know that about Fields, either, til I looked her up. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    Thanks, Mary Lee - the arc of life indeed. I'll take those wishes for some nice "in between" weeks - ha! Hope you and yours have a lovely holiday and start to the new year.
    - Robyn Black
  23. December 26, 2017 8:07 AM EST
    Loved your postcard, Robyn, and this newsy post. You are one of my gladde things! Take it easy, enjoy, and yes, this year in particular less is more.
    - Heidi Mordhorst
  24. January 4, 2018 5:53 PM EST
    Belated thanks, my friend Heidi, and Happy New Year!! :0)
    - Robyn Black

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bio, photos, interview links, etc.
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In addition to writing books, Robyn has sold her writing to major children's magazines.
A rhyming tale of a young boy's knightly adventure with an imagined dragon.
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