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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Two more Poem Postcards celebrating all things NEW!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Two more New Year Poem Postcard swap goodies came my way this week.  These haiku are a PERFECT way to express and celebrate our country's turning the page to a new chapter this week.

 

First up, Margaret gifted the beyond-glorious photo of a blue heron in flight, with these words:

 

 

On wingbeats of blue

heron rises unstatued

heralding the new

 

Image and poem ©Margaret Simon

 

Heralding the new, indeed! 

 

And then came Mary Lee's wonderful offering.  I have to add that it was postmarked the day after Christmas, and it JUST got to my mailbox on Thursday.  [I'd say I can't believe it took that long, but after many headaches worrying about Etsy orders getting to recipients on time in December (a few just plain didn't), I do believe it.  The USPS was stretched far too thin.  Here's hoping we all might be finished with quarantining and such by the time the holidays arrive THIS year.]

 

Mary Lee's words were worth the wait, and just right for this week in history:

 

 

recently minted

shiny coin of here and now

ready to be spent 

 

(and who doesn't live Rembrandt?!)

 

Image and poem ©Mary Lee Hahn

 

 

For more of Margaret's writing, click here; for more of Mary Lee's writing, click here; and to learn more about the creative pursuits of Jone Rush MacCulloch, who dreamed up the New Year's Postcard exchange, click here

 

Thanks to each of these amazing women.

 

By the way, I noticed Margaret added a handwritten note to her card, and Mary Lee's poem was handwritten, as was the poem I sent out on my cards this month. Did you know tomorrow, Jan. 23, is National Handwriting Day?  I'll be celebrating at artsyletters with earrings featuring sterling silver fountain pen charms that I fell in love with.  I made a pair to 'test drive' and have been wearing them all week. (Also, earrings with vintage pen nibs coming soon....) ;0)

 

Tomorrow is also the birthday of an amazing teacher who regularly brings poetry to life in the classroom - my daughter, Morgan!  Happy Birthday to our Super Hero!

 

Now, one more click to check out this week's Roundup - you'll find it at Laura Shovan's place, where there is always something new and wonderful going on. 

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Poetry Friday - Happy New Year! And, Auld Lang Syne...

 

and... WHEW - We MADE it!  

I've been ever so grateful for the Poetry Friday community during such a tumultuous year, and I look forward to what 2021 might bring. 

 

At the risk of "DUH - that's a cliche," the phrase that's been playing in my mind since our ritual family Christmas Eve viewing of It's a Wonderful Life has been the proverbial "cup of kindness."  We all need to raise each other's spirits, whether we're raising alcholic spirits or not.  So, my obvious poem choice today would be the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne.

 

You'll remember these late 18th-Century lines are attrributed to Robert Burns, Scotland's National Poet.  You can read about previous similar lines/themes/influences in this Encyclopedia Brittanica article. Did Rabbie Burns actually pen them, and exactly thus?  Not totally sure.  But they're always worth bringing out into the twinkling lights, to wrap ourselves up in like a new holiday robe:

 

 

Auld Lang Syne

 

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And old lang syne?


(Chorus)
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


And surely you'll buy your pint cup!
And surely I'll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


We two have run about the slopes,
And picked the daisies fine;
But we've wandered many a weary foot,
Since auld lang syne.


We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
Since auld lang syne.


And there's a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o' thine!
And we'll take a right good-will draught,
For auld lang syne.

 

 

CHEERS to you and yours.  Or as we learned to say in Scotland, Slàinte mhath (Pronounced slan-ge-var - here's a fun link with some background on meanings & pronunciation & such. OR - just ask Jone MacCulloch, who has had to postpone her trip to Scotland but, when she does go, will be armed with all the lovely Scottish Gaelic she's been learning!) 

 

Warmest wishes all around, and here's to brighter days.  Our wonderful Ruth has the Roundup today at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town.  Thanks, Ruth!

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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 - 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 - Welcome, November - and... Influencers!

(Link in process!) 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers -- Happy November!  (I know - I can't believe it either....)

 

While away last week during my annual crazy stretch of author school visits in the Atlanta area, I got to catch up with a dear and wonderful author friend of mine. A couple of years ago, I think it was, she introduced me to the term "influencer" re. social media.  Her very creative daughter, a young mom, was working at home as an Instagram influencer.  (If I understand it right, some folks with an artistic eye and savvy business sense - and with lots of follwers - are compensated by companies for featuring their products in enticing lifestyle shots.)

 

I've heard the phrase quite a lot since that conversation, also because I have a 20-something-year-old daughter myself who follows a couple of these accounts.

 

Influence is a term and idea we could discuss over coffee or tea, and I think we'd have to refill the cups more than once. As we turn the corner toward the end of this year and the beginning of a new one - an election year - I've been pondering getting more involved than I usually do. (At least after the holiday glitter and dust settle. I've now switched gears into 'happily frenzied mode' with my art business for the next several weeks.)  

 

Anyway, I've been given the contact information for a local person helping with the South Carolina campaign effort for a presidential candidate I admire, and I hope to reach out and be a tad useful in the new year.  

 

Election Day for this year is this coming Tuesday, Nov. 5.  Hence, my sharing the little magnet above (the gloss is still drying), made with a commemorative US postage stamp issued in 1968 - "Register & Vote."  I am in love with the typeface on this stamp, and that glorious weathervane eagle.  Probably some glass cab jewelry and bookmarks will happen, too.... ;0)

 

Here's a short poem for pondering, written by 19th-Century theologian and hymn writer Frederick William Faber, found in one of the delightful Victorian books in my studio stash, Golden Thoughts on Mother, Home and Heaven from Poetic and Prose Literature of All Ages and All Lands (Gotta love those Victorian titles!), New York:  E. B. Treat, 1879.

 

 

Power of Influence

 

by F. W. Faber

 

Our many deeds, the thoughts that we have thought, 

They go out from us thronging every hour;

And in them all is folded up a power

That on the earth doth move them to and fro;

And mighty are the marvels they have wrought,

In hearts we know not, and may never know.

 

 

Poetry Friday is ALWAYS a good influence on me!  So is today's host. For the Roundup, move thyself over to The Opposite of Indifference, where the ever-creative and ever-thoughtful Tabatha always inspires. 

 

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Poetry Friday - Lizard Brain

(A not-so-great phone pic of an oh-so-cute teeny baby anole.)

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I have a lifelong habit of talking to animals.  Not just the family dogs, kitties, birds, hamsters, goats and horses we've had over the years, but ANY animals, anywhere.  

 

A few weeks ago, still in the walking boot I've recently shed for a little ankle brace and real shoe, I was hobbling through our open carport when I noticed a female anole on the storage shed door.  She was keenly eyeing me, but also keeping tabs on an insect a few inches beneath her. I noticed that she sported a replacement tail, and somehow I was comforted by the sense of renewal this suggested, being  ankle-deep in the healing process myself.

 

"Ahhh, so you got yourself out of some kind of scrape, I see?" I asked her.  She stared back.  "You can eat your lunch.  I'm not going to hurt you."  I was a respectable few feet away.  

 

She turned her head back to the initial object of her attention, and grabbed her insect.  (Our SC Public Radio Naturalist Rudy Mancke likes to use the term 'recycled' when one critter consumes another, as in, "That insect was recycled into an anole.")

 

Fast forward a few weeks til now, when Jeff and I were planning a fun holiday weekend down to Florida to see my brother Mike and his hubby Scott over on the West Coast, with a swing by Orlando to see my folks on the way back.  With "lizard medicine" dancing around in my psyche, you can imagine my delight when Scott shared that "GeckoFest" - a community art festival with a parade and everything - would be happening on Saturday not far from them, in Gulfport.  I was very psyched for GeckoFest.  

 

But, alas, I guess we'll have to shoot for next year.  With Dorian prowling out in the Atlantic, and no easy way to get back to our coastal Lowcountry address from their Tampa Bay area address if there are actual evacuations or early torrents of rain on Sunday, we are going to stay here at home this weekend with our tiny Chihuhahua, and our tiny anoles. 

 

 

 

anoles 

in brown and green

the story changes...

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black, all rights reserved.  Biscuit Crumbs, 2018 Anthology of the Southeast Region of the Haiku Society of America.

 

 

Keeping a weather eye out here, and sending wishes for safety and calm to Florida family and to our Florida Poetry-Friday-ers, including Michelle, Jan, Stephanie Salkin, and Georgia Heard and Charles Egita down in South Florida. 

 

Speaking of creative, irresistable, resilient creatures, our lovely Kat is rounding up Poetry Friday this week, so a poetic walkabout is in order, don't you think?  

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Poetry Friday - A Couple of Browning Lines & 35th Anniversary

 

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be

 

Pretty sure my husband wooed me with that Browning couplet a time or two back in the day.  On Saturday, we celebrate our 35th anniversary! (We were babes of 21 when we got married.  My mother made my dress from scratch, with 2,000 seed pearls and no time to spare.  Seriously, a half hour before the ceremony, I was wearing a tee shirt and gym shorts. I come by my life-on-the-edge habits honestly.)

 

These are the opening lines to a long poem titled "Rabbi Ben Ezra."  Here's the first stanza:

 

 

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith "A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!''

 

 

You can read the whole poem here

 

It's not a romantic poem, actually, but a poem told in the voice of a 12th century rabbi and scholar, about being molded throughout life by the hand of the divine Potter.  And it's a good read if you have a few decades under the soles of your shoes!

 

It was published in Browning's Dramatis Personae in 1864.  My old Norton Anthology of English Literature from college notes, "The speaker, Abraham Ibn Ezra (ca. 1092-1167), was an eminent Biblical scholar of Spain, but Browining makes little attempt to present him as a distinct individual or to relate him to the age in which he lived. Unlike the more characteristic monologues, Rabbi Ben Ezra is not dramatic but declamatory."

 

A little heady, no?  For a more breezy poetic welcome to summer, visit our wonderful Linda at A Word Edgewise for this week's Roundup!  Clunkers welcome... you'll see.  ;0)  (I'm a little late to the party this Friday; our internet was down all Thursday night. I will be away from the computer most of the weekend but look forward to catching up in snatches.)

 

HAPPY SUMMER SOLSTICE!

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Poetry Friday - Taylor Mali's "Silver-Lined Heart" for my Graduating Son


I'm discovering that when your youngest, your baby, graduates from college - it feels like a big deal!

We are celebrating Seth this weekend, our old-soul 22-year-old who will be taking his degree and his very broad worldview and compassionate heart to go spend a year living and working with homeless folks.

When he was in high school, one of our favorite people on the planet, history teacher Michael McCann, took him and a group of kids (as he has done countless times) to the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival in New Jersey. Seth was especially taken with hearing Taylor Mali that year.

So, for this occasion, for Seth, for life in general and in these times, the following poem seems perfect. I'm only sharing the first two stanzas; the entire poem is here. (Note: Not appropriate for young students - Thanks!)


Silver-Lined Heart
by Taylor Mali


I’m for reckless abandon
and spontaneous celebrations of nothing at all,
like the twin flutes I kept in the trunk of my car
in a box labeled Emergency Champagne Glasses!

Raise an unexpected glass to long, cold winters
and sweet hot summers and the beautiful confusion of the times in between.
To the unexpected drenching rain that leaves you soaking
wet and smiling breathless; ...


Click here for the rest.

I'm for poetry, and for all freshly-minted graduates out there! Congratulations to you and your families.

For more poetry that leaves you "smiling breathless" today, please visit another of my all-time favorite people in the world, Jama, at Jama's Alphabet Soup for the Roundup.

Thanks for stopping by.
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Poetry Friday - My Son, The Voyager


Happy Poetry Friday, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my youngest!

Seth turns 22 today, and we got in a little birthday visiting earlier in the week up in the mountains. Busy Spring - he graduates from college as a religious studies major in less than two months! Then he's off to do a year's internship in the heart of one of our Southern cities, working with unhoused/homeless folks in a vibrant, progressive program. He's got the head and heart for it, though prayers for him and for the people he'll meet will always be welcome.

Seth took a creative writing class this semester, and he wrote a children's poem as one of the assignments. I asked if I could share it today! Enjoy.


The Voyager
by Seth Black


I set out, map in hand,
The wind just right for me,
Caught fabric in my sail,
And off I was indeed

To far and distant shores
The likes have not been seen.
The water clear as day
Stands vastly in between.

What’s that? – I hear a call.
I guess it’s time to eat.
“I’ve made your favorite dear.”
Alas! I love grilled cheese.

Walking my own plank,
I dive into the sea.
The blue float drifts away
But not my memory.

I’ll always have my ship.
A voyager, I’ll be.
For I am not a boy
But captain of the sea.


©Seth Black. All rights reserved.


Yes, we're proud of Seth's adventurous spirit.

Sail on over to Reading to the Core, where Captain Catherine is harnessing lots of poetic winds for our sails.
Bon Voyage!
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Poetry Friday - Post Card Exchange Part Two :0)


Happy Poetry Friday!

I'm delighted to share the final three postcards I received in our wonderful January Postcard Exchange organized by the ever-generous Jone.

The first two came sauntering in with their caramel-colored cards and entertaining animals, bringing smiles I do not take for granted this month.

Many thanks to Penny for this fun poetic diversion (you can see the properly centered formatting in the picture.):


Dr. Goat

If my doctor were a goat
and if I had a sore throat
he'd ask if I would open wide
so he could take a look inside.

And, yes, of course I'd open wide
so he could take a look inside.

But if my doctor were a goat
looking down my sore throat
I definitely could not say, "AAAAAHHHH!"
Cause Dr. Goat deserves a "BBAAAAHHHH!"


©Penny Parker Klostermann. All rights reserved.


Penny shared the backstory on the reverse of the card: "Your postcard was inspired by one of my childhood picture books. I snapped a photo of a page and wrote my poem based on that. Enjoy!" I did! Thanks, Penny. Makes me miss the goats we used to have when we lived on a little farm.

The next two were haiku, as I enjoyed in the first two cards posted last week.

The text on the back of Mary Lee's adorable kitty picture reads:


desire
just our of reach
whiskers twitch


©Mary Lee Hahn. All rights reserved.


Ha! This one made me fondly remember my childhood cat, a "cameo" Persian with the same color coat as the mischievous meow-er in this photo. He was named O'Malley (Yes, after The Aristocats!) Many thanks, Mary Lee!

My last mailbox treasure was from Ramona, whose poem graces that beautiful snow scene above:


A snowy sabbath
A new year's soft beginning
Wintry white frosting


©Ramona Behnke. All rights reserved.


"No snow in a very long time in my part of the world," she wrote, "so this dusting of snow on New Year's Day was a special treat!"

Ramona also tucked in printed copies of the poems read at both of President Obama's inaugurations. I probably hadn't read or heard them since those occasions, and it was comforting to revisit the words. You can find Elizabeth Alexander's 2009 poem and Richard Blanco's 2013 poem at www.poets.org . Thank you, Ramona, for your lovely poem as well as these.

Borrowing from each of those inauguration poems (in order), I wish you a "Praise song for every hand-lettered sign, the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables" and "the unexpected songbird on your clothes line."

For more unexpected and welcome delights, visit Carol this week at Beyond Literacy Link. She always has wonderful surprises.
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