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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - "Fall, leaves, fall" by Emily Bronte

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

On the road today (a road full of farms and fields with large rolls of freshly cut hay), so I'm just here with a HAPPY FALL wave and a short, classic poem.  Autumn is my favorite season, though I wouldn't quite describe it the way Emily B. did here... but then again, there's a bit of thrill in the macabre this time of year.

 

 

 

Fall, leaves, fall

 

by Emily Bronte (1818-1848)

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.


I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

 

 

Wishing you and yours plenty of un-dreary days as our calendars flutter into Fall and beyond! 

 

Our year-round Rose has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Imagine the Possibilities.. drift on over and enjoy!

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Poetry Friday - Farewell to Summer with Two Classic September Poems

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Here in coastal South Carolina, the days are still warm, but not excessively hot; some leaves are scattered on the ground; and we're still keeping a cautious eye ocean-ward after an unusually quiet start to the hurricane season in our corner of the Atlantic, anyway. (The peak Atlantic season occurs in September and October.)

 

Our kids in and near the mountains report cooler days of late, and at our Upstate South Carolina house last weekend, the deep green of summer is giving away to early hints of color in the trees. 

 

Back at the coast, I've been making collages featuring actual postcards of bathing beauties from the early 1900s.  I have some for sale at a local shop here, and I'll be adding some (such as the one pictured above) to my Etsy shop, too.  I guess it's my way of hanging on to summer a wee bit, even as the calendar pages turn themselves to autumn....

 

Here are a couple of September poems to help me get oriented, and maybe they'll strike your fancy as well. The first even begins with a nod to the sea.

 

 

 

September


By Joanne Kyger (1934-2017)

 

The grasses are light brown
and the ocean comes in
long shimmering lines
under the fleet from last night
which dozes now in the early morning 

 

...

 

Enjoy the rest of this rich poem here.  And you can read more about Joanne Kyger's rich life here

 

 

And here is a poem published in 1914, a few years after that postcard above was published, as a matter of fact. 

 

 

 

September Midnight


By Sara Teasdale

 
Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer,
Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,
Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,
Ceaseless, insistent.

 

The grasshopper's horn, and far-off, high in the maples,
The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence
Under a moon waning and worn, broken,
Tired with summer.

 

Let me remember you, voices of little insects,
Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,
Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,
Snow-hushed and heavy.

 

Over my soul murmur your mute benediction,
While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest,
As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to,
Lest they forget them.

 


Originally published in Poetry, March 1914. You can read more about Sara Teasdale here

 

Back to the present, hop on over to Australia to enjoy a different season from mine in the Northern Hemisphere, and lots of great poetry - Kat Apel has our Roundup (& a "Katch-up"!).  Thanks, Kat. :0)

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Poetry Friday - Hearts in Great Britain & Poetry by Vita Sackville-West

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - I had already sipped my daily cup of English tea (Clipper) early on Thursday before I heard the worrisome news of the Queen's decline, and then, later, the sad news of her death. 

 

Between both of those pieces of news, my mind went back to our 1994 trip to England to visit friends of Jeff's family and have a look around.  (Our Morgan was just a wee two-year-old.) We were based in Kent, with a sojourn or two to London. For a couple of days, our little family stayed at a renovated Victorian farmhouse on the grounds of Sissinghurst Castle.  An Elizabethan tower survives, and in the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I did visit a mansion house there.

 

Now the world-renowned gardens draw throngs of visitors each year.  These spectacular outdoor rooms were created in the 1930s by poet and writer Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicolson (an author and diplomat).  They were quite the bohemians and interesting characters.  You can learn more about them and the castle gardens here

 

Sackville-West (1892-1962) published novels as well as poetry and also wrote articles, letters, and journals. She loved the outdoors, as did Queen Elizabeth II.  

 

On our trip, at Sissinghurst, I bought an edition of two of Sackville-West's most famous works together - The Land & The Garden. The book has striking illustrations by Peter Firmin and an introduction by Nigel Nicolson (Frome and London: Webb & Bower, 1989).

 

As we're now about to welcome Fall, and with the heavy news from across The Pond, I thought these opening words from AUTMUMN (part of THE LAND) were fitting:

 

AUTUMN

 

by Vita Sackville-West

 

(excerpt)

 

How slow the darkness comes, once daylight's gone,

A slowness natural after English day,

So unimpassioned, tardy to move on,

No southern violence that burns away,

Ardent to live, and eager to be done.

The twilight lingers, etching tree on sky;

The gap's a portal on the ridge's crest;

The partridge coveys call beyond the rye;

Still some red bar of sunset cracks the west;

The orange harvest-moon like a dull sun

Rolls silent up the east above the hill;

Earth like a sleeper breathes, and all is still

This hour of after-day, the dying day's bequest,

This autumn dusk, when neither day nor night

Urges a man to strive or sleep; he stands

Filled with the calm of that familiar place,

 

...

 

(The verses go on for miles....)

 

I'm grateful that Queen Elizabeth was able to say her goodbyes in a place that was calm and familiar to her.  I heard in a news story that she liked to tell guests at Balmoral exactly where to stand outside on the grounds at midnight, to have the best view of the stars in the vast Scottish sky.

 

Our wonderful Carol has this week's Roundup at Beyond Literacy Week.  Thank you, Carol!

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Poetry Friday - Hooray for Pens!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Last week in a comment, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater asked about the glass pen in the picture with my little journals, and if I wrote with it.  Actually, that pen was an exquisite gift brought back for me from Italy from my very dear friend and fellow kidlit-folk, Paula Puckett. I have written with it, but mostly use it for Etsy photos.  It has a metal nib. 

 

I did, however, purchase an all-glass pen not very long ago.  I hadn't tried it, but since Amy asked, I finally gave it a wee scribble. I think I'm in love! It's fun to hold and terribly smooth.  The line is a bit wider than I'm used to writing or drawing with, as I usually use smaller nibs (especially the metal hawks quill or crow quill for drawing).  But I'm envisioning a lovely future with this pen, especially if I can keep from breaking it. 

 

The one I have is from Herbin; you can see a demonstration at their website here.  The side of the box explains, "Glass pens were very trendy in 17th century Venice." Because the nib has grooves, you can write several words before having to take the pen for a dip in the inkwell. 

 

I've always loved the physical act of writing.  As a kid, I took to cursive like a bee to nectar.  I have a vague memory of my second grade teacher letting me "teach" writing on the chalk board one day.

 

I've shared this haiku before, but I did write a poem about writing with a dip pen, before my daughter's marriage in 2016:

 

 

wedding invitations
the press and release
of the nib

 

©Robyn Hood Black

 
Third Honorable Mention, Harold G. Henderson Haiku Awards, Frogpond, Volume 39 Number 3, Autumn 2016

 

dust devils - THE RED MOON ANTHOLOGY OF ENGLISH-LANGUAGE HAIKU 2016, edited by Jim Kacian & The Red Moon Editorial Staff, Red Moon Press, 2017

 

For a longer poem with a pen reference, rich in imagery and family dynamics, here's a link to a treasure from Seamus Heaney's Death of a Naturalist (Oxford University Press, 1966):

 

 

Digging

 

by Seamus Heaney


Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

...

 

Click here for the poem. 

 

 

If you're a fountain pen fan, you might enjoy this 2016 article by Elizabeth Vogdes that I stumbled upon.  It's from the Swarthmore College Bulletin, "The Poetry of Pen and Ink."

 

What's your favorite way to commit poetic inspirations to paper - or, are you all electronic?  Or is a vintage typewriter your mode of literary record? My aforementioned friend Paula loves itty bitty ends of pencils! I'll grab whatever is handy, but I do love real pens.  Dip pens are best, but  Pigma Microns come in handy if I need a narrow line in a jiffy, or a way to write tiny text on little stained price tags for my items in local shops.

 

Do you like bold color? India ink? Do you end up with all the pens in the universe in the bottom of your purse (for those who carry purses)? Would you be caught without a pen?

 

Thanks for visiting, and be sure to check out all the luscious lines rounded up by Matt this week at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. (He's got an interview with Leslie Bulion, and a giveaway!)  Thanks, Matt. Also, follow along with our annual Kidlit Progressive Poem - here's a link to it from Jama's Alphabet Soup, and while you're there, check out Jama's roundup of Kidlit Poetry Month goodness! 

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Poetry Friday - Nesting in SPRING!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Sorry to miss you last weekend - I was so busy traveling and finishing up a baby quilt for a family gathering & bonus baby shower for our daughter and her hubby that I didn't come up for air at all.

 

You can see the little quilt above, with Matt and Morgan.  The four little flying-geese-type patches (-does anyone know exactly what those squares are called, with the little chevron element?-) were from a quilt top that my own grandmother (my mother's mother) made decades ago, so there's love going back four generations in all those stitches. :0) 

 

After the big family gathering, my husband Jeff helped Matt put together the crib for the new nursery. I helped Matt hang some pictures.  (Actually, a set of Noah's Ark drawings I had made 30 years ago when Morgan was born!) The parents-to-be have been getting the room ready for the last several weeks, and it is looking cozy and welcoming.  I'm sure everything will be in place for its special occupant come early June.

 

Speaking of nesting, a couple of weeks ago I noticed that skillfully tucked inside the gate to the storage area beneath our house is a perfect little Carolina wren nest.  You can't see it very well from the pictures, but you get the idea.  It's actually quite pretty in person, with bits of green lichen laced into the pine needles and such.  I wanted to get a better photo Thursday to show you, but it was chilly and rainy and I didn't want to cause Ms. Wren to fly away.  The birdie couple has at least four eggs in there, from what I could tell last week. 

 

I do love wrens.  That's why I was dellighted to see a social media posting by our own Jone Rush MacCulloch, who you might know has been learning Scots Gaelic, with a link to the pronunciation of 'wren' by learngaelicscot on Instagram. Enjoy!

 

In addition to the joyous anticipation of new baby life and bird life right now, we've got azaleas and dogwoods blooming in Beaufort, and masses of little green leaves covering the big live oaks. 

 

Here's a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) capturing Spring's exuberance. 

 

 

Spring Song

 

by Paul Laurence Dunbar
 
A blue-bell springs upon the ledge,
A lark sits singing in the hedge;
Sweet perfumes scent the balmy air,
And life is brimming everywhere.
What lark and breeze and bluebird sing,
    Is Spring, Spring, Spring!

 

No more the air is sharp and cold;
The planter wends across the wold,
And, glad, beneath the shining sky
We wander forth, my love and I.
And ever in our hearts doth ring
    This song of Spring, Spring!

 

For life is life and love is love,
'Twixt maid and man or dove and dove.
Life may be short, life may be long,
But love will come, and to its song
Shall this refrain for ever cling
    Of Spring, Spring, Spring!

 

 

My own baby boy, by the way, turned 27 this week.  (Happy Birthday, Seth!) Hard to believe that next week, we'll be celebrating the start of National Poetry Month. I plan to make & feature some new artsyletters goodies for poets along with poems for Poetry Fridays, and I look forward to my usual participation in the Kidlit Progressive Poem, which will be hosted again by Margaret at Reflections on the Teche.  (Thanks, Margaret!)

 

So get ready for April by flitting around all the great posts this week, rounded up for us by the ever-talented and wonderful Amy at The Poem Farm.  (Thanks, Amy!) And for fellow bird-lovers and poem-lovers, check out Amy's NEWEST treasure of a book while you're over there, IF THIS BIRD HAD POCKETS.

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Poetry Friday - More Poetry Postcards! (mine included)

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  

 

Happy Lunar New Year.  This week I'm sharing two more postcards from our New Year Poem Postcard Project swap, and my own, too, which I finally mailed out last week. ;0)

 

First up, one from our fearless leader, Jone Rush MacCulloch, who organizes this postal shindig each new year.

 

Her intriguing image features this haiku:

 

divergent pathways

a new year

alive with wonder

 

 

©Jone Rush MacCullocch

 

I'm sure that like me, you're a fan of Jone's mean camera skills as well as her poetic prowess.  I love the texture in this picture and asked her about the tracks.  She said they were bird tracks on her deck, made during the first light snow.  Beautiful!

 

Side note - I'm super excited to have learned that Jone's own "pathways" are going to drift over toward my side of the world for a trip soon, and I'm planning to hop in the car and go meet up with her!  (We live on opposite coasts.)  Jealous?  Yep, thought you might be - we'll snap a picture! ;0)

 

Second, I received a beautiful card late Thursday from Sarah Grace Tuttle.  The postcard features a colorful, inviting painting of Commonwealth Books in Boston, Massachusetts by Bob Ecksem.  Makes me want to walk right into that shop and not come out for hours!  Sarah's poem on the back offers a celebration of snow.  I know - many of you all have probably had your fill already this year, but here's a fresh and lovely perspective:

 

Let the Snow Come

 

A cool pressure blanket

to soothe the frantic world,

made of fabric in

a purple shadow pattern

threads of moonlight glitter

seams of bare branches

that can cradle me

as I rest.

 

©Sarah Grace Tuttle

 

Well, the frantic world could definitely use a cool comforter!  And we could all do with some rest under threads of moonlight, couldn't we?  Sigh. 

 

Many thanks to Jone and Sarah Grace for these gifts.

 

This year, as I was receiving so many gorgeous, inspired, and inspiring poem postcards (see the last few posts), I got a wild hair.  I thought I'd toss in a chuckle.  So in honor of the Year of the Tyger, which came padding in at the beginning of the week, I had a little fun with "The Tyger" by William Blake (1757-1827).  

 

Poet Poet, burning bright

In the blue computer light

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful syntax-y?

...

Did he who made Iambs make thee?

 

©Robyn Hood Black, after, and with apologies to, William Blake

 

(You can find Blake's original illustrated poem, from his Songs of Innocence and Experience, here and the text only here.)

 

To my pen and ink tiger sketch, I filled in with stripes which are actually snippets from Blake's draft of "The Tyger" from one of his notebooks  (copied from a reproduction in Peter Ackroyd's book, BLAKE).  It was helpful to me that Blake had so many scratch-throughs in several lines.  These offered bold horizontal darks, and also gave me comfort that even poetic geniuses make mistakes...;0)

 

Thanks again to Jone for organizing the swap, and here's to poetry running wild in 2022!

 

Now, go pounce on Unexpected Intersections, where Elisabeth is kindly rounding up Poetry Friday this week.

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Poetry Friday - Couple More New Year Poem Postcards!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

More New Year Poem Postcard love this week, thanks to the yearly swap organized by Jone Rush MacCulloch. Lucky for me and my usual time-challenged nature, we can either go the traditional Western New Year's route or pay homage to the Lunar New Year, with its representative animal.  (Feb. 1 will usher in the Year of the Tiger.)  My postcards, finally, are crouched and ready to pounce into the mail this morning.  ;0)

 

Today I share a pair of gems with breathtaking landscape images on one side, and inspiring words on the other. 

 

First, many thanks to Carol Labuzzetta for her gorgeous photograph of the setting moon at Turret Arch in Arches National Park in Utah.  I am drawn right in to that natural wonder in her photograph, and I love how the circle in the rock is mirrored by the bright, round moon on the right!

 

On the other side of her card, beneath a fetching jumping tiger, is this haiku:

 

Eye of the tiger

Keenly seeing the future

Blinking honestly

 

©Carol Labuzzetta

 

(I would welcome more keen eyesight and honesty in the world these days - just sayin'.)

 

Next, please give it up for Gail Aldous, who explains on her postcard that she took this stunning photograph in the Adirondack Mountains, where she and her husband hike and cross-country ski.  She also offers a nod to her cat, whose name is - wait for it - Tigress!

 

The beautiful natural "layers" in her photograph inspired this poem:

 

cloud layers

mountain layers

life layers

joy

 

(draft  ©Gail Aldous)

 

Boy, do those thoughts resonate with me this year!  Layers, indeed.

 

I feel so blessed to be able to do some armchair traveling with these poem postcards - The warm words and wishes inspire me, and the glimpses of life in other ecoysystems and landscapes is magical.  Thanks, Carol and Gail!

 

 

Fellow Southerner Irene Latham has the Roundup this week - and always a million amazing, wonderful things - at Live Your Poem. Thank you for hosting, Irene!

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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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