instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Wave from Middleton Place and Spring Storm by William Carlos Williams

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Just a quick wave from Middleton Place today, a former plantation near Charleston and home to the country's oldest landscaped gardens. (Here's a link to learn more: https://www.middletonplace.org/ -- I can't seem to embed links or format type remotely at the moment.)

 

We were able to explore the grounds this morning, ahead of the storms expected this afternoon. Strong winds are already here! There's no snow here, but this poem by William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) seems appropriate for the weather today, and, in a way, appropriate for Good Friday.

 

 

Spring Storm

 

The sky has given over its bitterness.

Out of the dark change

all day long rain falls and falls

as if it would never end.

...

 

For the rest, follow this link: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/spring-storm

 

Here's hoping all are staying safe in this weather! I'm rather late posting today, as I spent all my recent computer time getting out my artsyletters newsletter for Spring.

Click this link if you'd like to see it; and sign up for future ones at artsyletters.com if you like.

 

May storms give way to light and life, and may your weekend be filled with joy!

 

Visit our amazing Amy at The Poem Farm - http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/2019/04/poetry-friday-poem-19-facts.html -for this week's Roundup.

10 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Haiku Poetry Day, the HSA Spring Meeting, and the Santa Maria

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I love living in a historic town, and this week it's even moreso... a gorgeous replica of the Santa Maria is parked in the neighborhood and open for tours.  (I enjoyed touring a much larger Spanish Galleon in Port Royal a few years ago, too.)

 

If the photo above whets your appetite, you might enjoy this video of the gracious little ship arriving in our bay.  

 

What does any of this have to do with Poetry Month?  Bear with me....  

 

Our little town, Beaufort South Carolina, vies with St. Augustine, Florida (part of my growing-up stomping grounds), as the nation's oldest city.  Well, here's the thing - St. Augustine IS the nation's oldest continually inhabited city, while the Port Royal area of my current fair county was settled first.  Politics, bad manners with the native neighbors, and other factors contributed to its demise, and there was a spell of years before the next settlement got settled.  Of course, all of this jabber refers to European settlement/conquest; there were civilizations here long before "we" arrived, thank you very much. 

 

I've always loved St. Augustine, and I can't wait to make a little trip there next month for the Haiku Society of America's Spring National Meeting, with the theme, "The Eternal Now: Haiku in the Ancient City"!  It's May 17-19.  I'm especially delighted that I'll get to see some Florida poetry friends including our own Michelle Heidenrich Barnes and my pal Stephanie Salkin. (Be sure to check out Michelle's recent post here featuring her honorable mention winning entry in the Triangle/D.C. area Golden Haiku contest; she also shares winning poems by Elizabeth Steinglass and Diane Mayr! CONGRATS all around!) 

 

I am honored that at the St. Augustine meeting, I'll be leading a session.  The historic setting got me thinking about my own history running wild in the woods of Florida, and then about family history, especially with the ancestry research and travel you've all been kind enough to indulge me in this past year or so. I believe haiku can connect us with our own family histories as well as with our corporate human family around the globe.  Both the Florida setting and my Lowcountry SC environs reminded me of this poem I wrote a few years back:

 

 

home again
twists and turns
of the live oak

 

Acorn, Spring 2012

Biscuit Crumbs, HSA SE Anthology, 2018

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

 

 

That poem came about before I knew we would be moving to the coast of South Carolina; I wrote it on a trip home to see my folks in Orlando.  But I found it applied, somehow,  after we moved here, too - these live oaks make me feel right at home. 

 

ALL this to say, that haiku is where the title of my session comes from:

 

"Reach of a Live Oak - Haiku and Our Family Tree."  I'm enjoying putting my talk/workshop together!

 

The conference will also feature Michael Henry Lee, Southeast Coordinator & Host (& one of my favorite poets!); the Coquina Haiku Circle of St. Augustine, helping to host; HSA President Fay Aoyagi; Stanford M. Forrester (Sekiro); Antoinette Libro; and Tom Painting.  A fun outing or two are in the works as well!  For a detailed schedule, please see the Haiku Society of America and click the link, currently on the front page. 

 

(Amazing to think that the original Santa Maria sailed the seas almost 200 years before haiku existed as we know it today, as its own short form championed by Basho in the 1600s.)

 

If you can't make the meeting, be sure to raise a glass and a pen on Wednesday, April 17, for International Haiku Poetry Day!  Click here for more info from The Haiku Foundation. 

 

And enjoy all the wonderfulness to savor this Poetry Month, including our Kidlit Progressive Poem, which lands here on Monday.  (Click that link to see the schedule at founder Irene's blog. Matt started the whole thing off this year as a found poem, and it's been fun to unfold a new found line each day.)

 

Speaking of Irene, who is Speaking of Art again this year for Poetry Month, she has the Roundup today. Thank you, Irene!!

23 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Poetical Wave and Ars Poetica

Greetings, Poetry Lovers -

 

On the road again ( I know!), but I wanted to chime in with a wish for a HAPPY POETRY MONTH which starts on Monday!

 

I came across some lines from Archibald MacLeish's "Ars Poetica" this week, and thought it would be a great poem to revisit, to whet our Poetry Month appetites.  (Ars Poetica simply means "The Art of Poetry." Horace had the original version back in 19 B.C.)

 

Archibald MacLeish was born in 1892 - the same year that clipped text word "POETICAL" above appeared in a Victorian book!

 

 

Ars Poetica


by Archibald MacLeish (1892 - 1982)

 
A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

 

Dumb

As old medallions to the thumb,

 

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—

 

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.

 

...

 

Click here for the rest of the poem, especially its famous last line.

 

Continue your poetical jump start with the wonderful Carol, who is appreciating daffodils and rounding up for us over at Carol's Corner.  

Have a great weekend! 

11 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Irish Leanings & Yeats

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! 

 

We're a week into March.  Feeling Irish yet?

 

As I've been reminiscing about our family "ancestral" trip last June and pining for Scotland, I'm fondly remembering our traipsing through Ireland, too!  (We're all ridiculously Irish as well as Scottish, English, Welsh....)We took a day trip from Dublin out to the countryside and Glendalough, covering some of the same ground we did 22 years ago on our first trip to The Emerald Isle, when the kids were wee tykes. In November, I posted a picture of a Fairy Tree from our recent trip, and a Yeats poem, here

 

I've come up with a couple of Irish-themed items in my studio, too, also pictured above.  (Here's the bookmark link and the small journal/sketchbook link.)

 

With St. Patrick's Day inspirations, I steered again toward our good friend William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939) for today's poem. It blends the real and mythical.  Yeats was so intrigued with the faeirie world, and I wouldn't have been surprised to see something fey on those paths through the Irish woods - they just tremble with green, with life, with magic!

 

 

 

The Song of Wandering Aengus


W. B. Yeats


I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

 

 

Here's a link to the poem at the Academy of American Poets. 

 

And here's a link to a teaching guide from The National Endowment for the Humanities. 

 

The introduction reads:

 

William Butler Yeats wrote "The Song of Wandering Aengus" on January 31 sometime in the late 1890s. It was first printed in 1897 under the title "A Mad Song." The current title "The Song of Wandering Aengus" was applied when it was finally published in The Wind Among the Reeds (1899). These early collected poems displayed Yeats's mastery of the lyric form as well as his passion for Celtic mythology and Irish folklore, which were to fuel his poetic genius throughout his career.

 

Wishing you lyrical language and maybe a faerie intervention as we bound toward Spring. 

 

Be sure to visit our wonderful Catherine at Reading to the Core for Today's Roundup.  She's been long-planning a theme around International Women's Day, which I forgot about, again, until just now checking the Roundup schedule.  (This international woman is still looking for traction in this new year. :0! )

Catherine, THANK YOU, and I am cheering on you and others from the lichen-strewn sidelines!

15 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - WITH MY HANDS and With My Hands...

Top: Our own Amy's WITH MY HANDS invites kids of all ages to create! Bottom:  My newest obsession is playing with antique map images. 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I've been thinking of our own Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's WITH MY HANDS this week (Clarion Books, 2018).  It's full of poetry to delight and inspire the youngest creatives, celebrating a variety of projects made by hand.  It works on us old(er) creatives, too!  Its own illustrations were made by Lou Fancher & Steve Johnson.

 

Did you know WITH MY HANDS is a 2019 NCTE Notable Poetry Book?  Congratulations, Amy!

 

If you enjoyed my picture of the fun little birdhouse in Scotland that I included in last week's post, you'll enjoy the following poem.  (The birds are still twitterpated around my neighborhood, raising a ruckus for Spring's arrival.)

 

 

Birdhouse

 

 

We hammered out

a little house.

It has a circle door

four sturdy walls

a pointed roof

a simple wooden floor.

 

It's hanging on 

a fence post

and I'm imagining

a bluebird mom

in there

with babies

tucked beneath

her wing.

 

Someday 

I'll see them fly.

Someday

I'll hear them sing.

 

©Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.

 

 

Such a lovely poem!  

 

I've been thinking of Amy's book this week because tonight is our little downtown's FIRST FRIDAY, when businesses and galleries stay open late and welcome folks with wine, gab, and general Southern hospitallity.  I am always scrambling at the last minute getting ready.  This week I'm especially scrambling, because artsyletters is the "Spotlight Business" - meaning, I'll be down at street level with a couple of wonderful City folks at the Clock, sharing some wares and meeting folks, and my wonderful hubby Jeff will be up at my studio literally minding the store.  Kim Poovey has offered to help. Wish us all luck!  (As I type this Thursday night, I confess it's going to be a late night/early morning....)

 

Anyway, I DO love making things by hand - always have, since I landed on the planet. My latest obsession is with antique maps and manuscripts I've been collecting (the aforementioned husband might have thrown out the word, "intervention") - using images from these for cards, bookmarks, journals and such. I'll get these new items listed on Etsy as soon as I can - but not before Friday night! ;0)

 

Other poems in WITH MY HANDS especially call to me in this current endeavor, such as "Painting," "Card," "Collage," "Drawing," and, perhaps most appropriate, "Mess"!

 

See what all our creative poetic souls are up to today at TeacherDance, where our beautiful Linda is rounding up Poetry Friday and welcoming Spring along with the birds. 

10 Comments
Post a comment

POETRY FRIDAY - Rounding Up the Flock HERE Today!

 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  

 

You've come to the right place for the Roundup.  All are welcome - enjoy the posts and please leave your links in the comments.  I'll round them up old school throughout the day on Friday.  (Note - with privacy changes, I no longer have access to the email addresses of commenters, so do be sure to leave your links!)

 

Here's another recently published haiku:

 

 

Scottish rain

tourists storm

the castle

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black

Modern Haiku 50:1, Winter-Spring 2019

 

 

Ahhhh, Scotland... I'm still pining for that amazing place and fondly recalling our family explorations last June. One memory leads to another to another....

 

Like our first full day in Edinburgh, when I'd made arrangments to meet up with my buddy Elizabeth Dulemba and her wonderful husband, Stan. And Elizabeth brought along her buddy, Jane Yolen!  We all had a delightful lunch that spanned hours.

 

Did you know Jane recently surpassed the 365-books mark?  Talk about prolific!  You can read a different Jane Yolen book every day of the year.  Pretty sure she's already got Leap Year covered now, too.  (Learn more about Jane here.)

 

One book which is oh-so-timely right about now was written by Jane with her son, Adam Stemple, and illustrated by Elizabeth. ((Learn more about Elizabeth here.)  In CROW NOT CROW, published by the Cornell Lab Publishing Group last fall, a father introduces his daughter to birding using the "crow, not crow" method for identifying birds.  I know this is Poetry Friday and the text is not actually poetry, but we have many bird lovers among us, and I wanted to make sure you know about this book! 

 

Were you craning your neck this past weekend? Cornell, along with Audubon and Bird Studies Canada, sponsors the Great Backyard Bird Count every President's Day weekend. I participated several years when we lived in Georgia, and need to get back in the swing here in SC!  Amateurs are welcome, and folks submit their tallies from all over the world. In fact, in case you were among those counting but you didn't get all your numbers in, you can submit them until March 1. Learn more here

 

The many birds around here in recent days have all been twitterpated - raise your hand if you know which Disney movie that comes from! ;0)

 

By the way, that adorable bird in the picture?  The one my son-in-law Matt and I were smitten with, cameras in hand? It's a coal-tit - they look very much like our chickadees here in North America.  This one found lodging at a beautiful little stone cottage in Luss, on the banks of Loch Lomond, where a birdhouse was hung with these painted words:  "BED AND BOARD, 5 FLIES P/N (per night)" - and "4 stars" at the top! 

 

Ahhhh, Scotland...

 

Thanks for following this "flight of ideas" - Read on for the Roundup!  [& Catherine Flynn reminds us: "There are just two more weeks until March 8th, International Women's Day. I'll be hosting the Roundup that day and would love it if people help to celebrate the day by sharing poems that honor women. You can read more here". Thanks, Catherine.]

 

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

 

We all mourn the loss of poetry icon Paul B. Janeczko this week.  Almost exactly 10 years ago, I heard him speak at a conference in Georgia, where he said, "Good poetry explodes with possibilities."

 

***(adding this bit in...)

 

In the comments below, Jane Yolen has gifted us with some lovely lines for Paul Janeczko.  I'm sharing them here, too, so all can more easily see:

 

Dark

 

The morning is darker, deeper, a color that tears see.

There is no reason for death except to cleanse life's slate.

We write new wisdoms, forget the old.

Dance when you can, my friends.

Don't always do what you are told.

 

Jane Yolen ©2019 all rights reserved

 

(Thank you for sharing, Jane.)***

 

Our lovely Linda at TeacherDance has a remembrance in Paul Janezcko's honor, and an intriguing follow-up about a 19th-Century poet she discovered, after some digging, by way of an old anthology.  Click over to meet Celia Thaxter.

 

Little Willow checks in from Bildungsroman today with a few lines by Janne Robinson that might burn your tongue.... (Little Willow, I always enjoy your posts though I've never figured out how to comment on them!)    

 

Hungry?  As always, Jama has the perfect special on her poetic menu today.  Saunter over to her Alphabet Soup for  Hannah's Tall Order, an A to Z  Sandwich, by Linda Vander Heyden and Kayla Herren.  Bring your appetite and a sense of adventure!

 

Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link treats us to a lovely review of H IS FOR HAIKU by Sydell Rosenberg, the picture book collection lovingly brought to life by Rosenberg's daughter, Amy Losak.  You'll also get a peek at the Long Island weather (sending sunshine from here, Carol!) and Carol's poetic and artistic interpretations inspired by the book. 

 

Having grown up as "Robyn Hood," I can relate to Alan J Wright's offering at Poetry Pizzazz.  His original "Call the Roll" poem might have you conjuring up your own possibilities for playful classroom rolls, too!  

 

If ever need more color in your world, go see Michelle Kogan.  She is breaking in a brand new iPad this week with sketches and haiku.  (My favorite is "Remember me…")  Enjoy! 

 

At Reading to the Core, Catherine shares "For You" by Karla Kuskin, a perfect poem to honor Paul B. Janeczko.  It's also a perfect choice for those of us who miss special kitties in our lives.

 

At Gathering Books, Fats shares powerful writing by Warsan Shire, an award-winning Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer who is based in London. With jolting and masterful imagery, Shire's work reflects "the harrowing experiences of refugees and immigrants, to tell stories of suffering, displacement, and healing."

 

Linda is waving from a cozy snow day over at A Word Edgewise to share a book all about the most extravagant adventuring – COUTNDOWN – 2979 Days to the Moon by Suzanne Slade.  Our guide explores this scientific book in verse from three perspectives – reader, teacher librarian, and writer.  Enjoy the journey! 

 

Join Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for two original poems as brief but potent explorations of bravery, productivity and peace… you'll have to click over to see for yourself!

 

If you need a bit of good-vibes inspiration this week (who doesn't?!), tune in to The Drift Record, where Julie is sharing a gorgeous poem by A. E. Stallings and an absolutely infectious positive attitude.  Better than vitamins!

 

Left you wanting more, eh?  Here's a link to Books Around the Table, where Julie, no stranger to wide net casting, shares this poem PLUS other links which have been inspiring her lately.  (A must-read for Darwin fans, and for origami lovers.)

 

At There is No Such thing as a Godforsaken Town, Ruth has an inspiring original response poem to a Monet painting, and some thoughts about her oh-so-productive year of meeting her writing goals.  And her usual dose of refreshing frankness! 

 

So many talented teachers in our Poetry Friday crew... Mary Lee is sharing two fantastic student poems today at A Year of Reading. You'll enjoy her thoughts behind writing workshop for her fifth graders, too!

 

The ever-clever Jan at Bookseed Studio has a book giveaway!  It's a great one, too – Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Fred Koehler's newest synergistic collaboration, WHAT IF/THEN WE? Jan is sweetening the pot, too, with a generous addition.  AND, she's got some very fun words found in the wild, inviting you to share your own rare sightings….

 

At Friendly Fairy Tales, the focus today is on… focus! Enjoy Brenda's original poem and photo.  

 

From Nix the Comfort Zone, Molly brings us a beautiful original poem, "Invitation" inspired by other Poetry Friday folks and "word collections." She also has an intriguing haiku that missed a deadline, but doesn't miss the boat… (an obscure reference, kind of; I might be getting a little Poetry-Friday-punch-drunk).

 

Heidi has poured grief into a wonderful book spine poem honoring several of Paul B. Janeczko's most beloved titles over at My Juicy Little Universe.  Thank you, Heidi. 

 

At Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme, Matt also shares remembrances of this brilliant lost light, as well as one of his favorite PBJ poems. 

 

Since our Scotland trip was the result of family trees and DNA tests, I particularly love Amy's family history poem today over at The Poem Farm!  And a photo there suggests where said Amy might have gotten some of her sass, as well as good looks. ;0) Amy also has beautiful words to remember and honor Paul Janeczko today. 

 

At Live Your Poem, Irene is also mining family memories and inviting us to do the same in a year-long project inspired by Patty Dann's THE BUTTERFLY HOURS.  Enjoy her sticky sweet poetic remembrance, "A Taste of Summer."  And three cheers for Irene's hand-raise – of COURSE she would know that it's in BAMBI's forest where creatures become twitterpated this time of year… 

 

Christie chimes in with Two Blue Herons (you'll understand when you click over) at Wondering and Wondering.  Polyphonic Renaissance music and haiku, too – double-love! 

 

Carol takes us on a snowy tour at The Apples in My Orchard and offers up a poem celebrating the color White.  Bring your snowshoes! 

 

Ramona at Pleasures from the Page has a beautiful post honoring Paul B. Janeczko, and a generous give-away offer as well. Some of her favorite titles are probably some of yours, too. 

 

Elaine is also celebrating Paul at Wild Rose Reader.  She's chosen to honor him with "Yellow Sonnet" by Paul Zimmer, from Janeczko's book, THE PLACE MY WORDS ARE LOOKING FOR. 

 

Did you see the Super Snow Moon this week?  It was too cloudy in my corner of the Universe.  But Amy at Mrs. Merrill's Book Break, has us covered with a photoraph and her original poem full of heart, "Full Moon Dreaming." 

 

Speaking of snow, at Check it Out, Jone shares student poems and art inspired by our own Laura Purdie Salas's SNOWMAN-COLD=PUDDLE. SO clever these young creators are!

 

Jone also remembers Paul B. Janeczko and some of his many books at Deowriter today – thank you, Jone, for helping us all to say thanks. 

 

AliceNine offers a poignant post about loveliness which can grow out of growing old – good to ponder as we grapple with life and the end of life this week. 

 

At Reflections on the Teche, Margaret brings us the end-of-day golden light with some golden shovel poems. Enjoy!

 

Last but not least, Susan at Soul Blossom Living leaves us smiling with a couple of fun limericks to make you feel cool as a cucumber.

 

Have a great weekend, All!

44 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - New Year Poem Postcard

Greertings, Poetry Lovers! 

 

Last weekend I was on the road, and more of the same this weekend, truth be told.  

 

But I wanted to pop in with a wave and a THANK YOU to you dear and talented poets who have brightened my January with poem postcards.  (& BIG hugs to Jone Rush MacCulloch, who conjured up the exchange.) The examples above are brimming with New Year natural imagery, and pigs (it's the Year of the Pig), and - some touches of pink! (The flip side of Irene's card sports a pink flamingo, in homage to my home state of Florida.) If I misplaced a card in my haste to snap a photograph, my apologies. [And I owe a couple of folks responses to other wonderful surprises via the mail... I plan to catch up next week!  Thank you.]

 

The postcard I sent out, above, echoed a similar theme to the ones I was lucky enough to receive. Sea fog sometimes shrouds our usually bright little town with mystery and wonder.  And if the sun comes out, well - Nature takes her course. I'm hoping some of the fog I feel over our country right now might lift in favor of light and warmth this year, too.

 

 

new year
sea fog surrenders
to sun

 

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

 

 

Photo credit goes to my hubby, Jeff, who kindly and speedily rolled down the passenger window as I was driving us to church recently, crossing over the bridge.  "You have a new phone with a good camera - Quick!  I need a picture of fog over the marsh!"

 

Then I played with the image a little, "floating" a picture of a compass from a 1700s replica map I  have, featuring the Southeastern coast. To this I dabbed a sparkle or two of metallic gold paint, then "antiqued" the edges with brown ink. 

 

Making several, in case I messed up, I decided to list a few in my Etsy shop, too. :0) Thanks for the inspiration, Jone, and all the other participants.  

 

Here's hoping the sunny days outnumber the others in your year ahead.... 

 

In fact, at Going to Walden, Tara is offering a Linda Pastan poem pondering the goings-on of the world, and rounding up lots of enlightening poetry links! Enjoy. 

11 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Wrap Your Arms (& Arms & Arms & Arms) Around Poetic Postcards with Irene Latham

--Interior detail from Love, Agnes by Irene Latham, illustrated by Thea Baker (Millbrook Press/Lerner, 2018).

 

 

Greetings and HAPPY NEW YEAR, Poetry Lovers!

 

I hope your 2019 is beginning with poetic inspirations.  

 

I had hoped to start off the year with a sparkly clean house, office, studio... but actually, I resonated more with David G. Lanoue's DAILY ISSA for Thursday:

 

     basking
     in the New Year's sun...
     my trashy hut

 

     year unknown

 

translation by David G. Lanoue.  Learn how to up for your own DAILY ISSA in your inbox here.

 

So organizing is going a little slowly, but at least I'm finally able to catch up on a wee bit of book-loving after the busy holiday/retail holiday season.

 

Here's hoping you've already joined all the fun fanfare for Agnes, the postcard-penning Octopus and star of our own Irene Latham's book, Love, Agnes- Postcards from an Octopus, illustrated by Thea Baker (Millbrook Press/Lerner). Evidently octupuses were a literary trend this fall, which Irene shares in her September blog post here; and be sure to swim around all the October posts celebrating Octopus Month and featuring wonderful poetry and art by fellow Poetry-Friday-ers and others!

 

Love, Agnes is not a poetry collection but is a wittily entertaining fantastical narrative, with lots of facts blended in and strong emotions deftly portrayed.  (So you see, it's much like poetry.) Characters include a young boy who writes about family frustrations; Agnes, an aged Octopus who is not afraid to speak her mind and who nurtures her zillions of babies; and a few more creatures, crabby and otherwise,  hanging out in the underwater neighborhood. Much of the story unfolds through postcards written by these salty personalities.  (It's worth a visual trip through the book just to see the postage stamps & cancellations created by Thea Baker!)

 

While it's not technically poetry, you'll find tasty rhymes and other poetic devices hiding in the pint-sized epistles as well as the regular text. 

 

Like this:

 

     Dear Crab,

 

     Okay, I'll leave you and

     your friends alone.  IF you'll

     promise me this:  BE QUIET.

     No skittering or scuttling

     near my nest. My babies need

     their rest.

 

     Thanks in advance,

 

     Exhausted Agnes

 

Each character has such a fun voice, and the voice of the whole book is definitely Irene's.  No wonder it has raked in rave reviews like coquina shells at the seashore.

 

One reason I was keen to share this book this week is that I've signed up to participate in Jone MacCulloch's Poem Postcard swap for January!  November and December were too much of a whoosh for me to get myself signed up for Tabatha's wonderful winter poem swap. But this I aim to do.  

 

As it happens, I've already received two WONDERFUL postcard poems in the mail on Thursday.  (Looking forward to sharing later.)  These poets are obviuosly way more together than I (you know who you are).  We are actually still doing family travel for Christmas, with my side of the family having celebrated just before and through the holiday, and my hubby's side meeting up this first weekend in January.  I haven't quite got both feet in the New Year yet!  

 

Be sure to take your poetic tentacles over to POETRY FOR CHILDREN with our amazing Syliva, and grab lots of great poetry to get your year off on the right foot (and arm, and arm, and arm, and - well - you get the idea.)  You can learn more about Irene and her lovely, lively work here

21 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Family Ties & Armistice Day Centennial

 

The intriguing discussion on public radio's On Point on Thursday reminded me that Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, when World War I officially ended.

 

Meghna Chakrabarti hosted Lora Vogt and Jack Beatty in an exploration of history and World War I, in which Vogt said "20th-Century technology pushed up against 19th-Century ideology."  Seven countries entered the war when it began in 1914; at its end in 1918, 30-plus countries were involved on every inhabited continent.

 

My mother's father, John Hollingsworth Conditt, was a small and evidently feisty Arkansas teenager when war broke out.  He lied about his age to join the Army.  In fact, somehow I've inherited the very shirt he wore when he signed up – with some blood stains on it from a blow he took to the nose during some kind of a fight that day….

 

Regular readers over here know I'm a little obsessed with family history and Ancestry.com.  Recalling the photo of my grandfather above, I visited my online tree to see if any military "hints" popped up for my grandfather. I found an application for a military headstone.  Over the initial writing, a red pencil added details… a change in rank from private to corporal, and, under the "Medals" section, "Purple Heart" and "Silver Star"!  My eyes filled with tears.  (I should add that a few hours of online sleuthing have yet to substantiate the red-pencilled additions on that 1959 form, but I'm still on the hunt. I was able to find military transport records back and forth across the seas. )

 

A call to my mother (Hi, Mom!) revealed that she didn't really know about medals, except for a vague memory of a ribbon and metal medal with a clasp in a hinged tin box on the shelves in their kitchen, when she was very little. Hmmmm….  She knew her father had been shot in the hip in France. (Which would explain the Purple Heart, though I haven't found records yet. There's not a comprehensive list, evidently – maybe the same for the Silver Star?)  I did find that he came back on a ship from France in 1919, but then evidently headed out again.... Mom recalled that he was part of the lingering forces on the China Expedition, which occurred around the turn of the century when he was born, but US troops were still coming and going into the early 1920s.)

 

My mother also recalled how, after her dad returned home from the Army in 1922 and was walking through his little town with a buddy, he saw my grandmother in a field and declared, "I'm going to marry her."  He didn't know who she was. They wed the next year.  Outside in the middle of the road, mind you – her father had some objection (perhaps her age of 18? We're not sure…) and wouldn't let them get married in the house.  My grandmother said it was very cold outside! 

 

In my studio among my many old books I found THE VITAL ISSUES OF THE WAR (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1918), a collection of sermons by Richard Wilson Boynton, a Unitarian Minister and professor.  I have not read it all, only skimmed some of it.  But I sympathize with the struggle between a longing for pacifism and the gritty reality that evil cannot be permitted to destroy innocent lives unchecked.

 

From Sermon III, THE GOSPEL OF PACIFISM, a few excerpted lines:

 

"But until August, 1914, I supposed myself to be a fairly consistent peace advocate.  Up to that fateful summer most Americans, one fancies, had a more or less fervent hope for the near advent of the new internationalism, the gradual reduction of armaments on land and sea, the progress of the principle of arbitration in disputes between nations – in short, the whole group of world-ideals represented by the two Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907."

 

And, "It is well to practice kindness to animals, but that does not mean stopping to reason with a mad dog when he is attacking your child."

 

Boynton ended Sermon V, THE INFLUENCE OF SEA POWER IN THE WAR, with this poem below by Alfred Noyes. (I can't find an easy link so will include the whole poem.)

 

 

   The Searchlights

 

Shadow by shadow, stripped for fight,

          The lean black cruisers search the sea.

Night-long their level shafts of light

          Revolve, and find no enemy.

Only they know each leaping wave

May hide the lightning, and their grave.

 

And in the land they guard so well

          Is there no silent watch to keep?

An age is dying and the bell

          Rings midnight on a vaster deep.

But over all its waves, once more

The searchlights move, from shore to shore.

 

And captains that we thought were dead,

          And dreamers that we thought were dumb,

And voices that we thought were fled,

          Arise, and call us, and we come;

And "Search in thine own soul," they cry;

"For there, too, lurks thine enemy."

 

Search for the foe in thine own soul,

          The sloth, the intellectual pride;

The trivial jest that veils the goal

          For which our father lived and died;

The lawless dreams, the cynic Art,

That rend thy nobler self apart.

 

Not far, not far into the night,

          These level swords of light can pierce;

Yet for her faith does England fight,

          Her faith in this our universe,

Believing Truth and Justice draw

From founts of everlasting law;

 

The law that rules the stars, our stay,

          Our compass through the world's wide sea,

The one sure light, the one sure way,

          The one firm base of Liberty;

The one firm road that men have trod

Through Chaos to the throne of God.

 

Therefore a Power above the State,

          The unconquerable Power, returns,

The fire, the fire that made her great

          Once more upon her altar burns,

Once more, redeemed and healed and whole,

She moves to the Eternal Goal.

 

(Learn more about Alfred Noyes, of "The Highwayman" fame, here.) 

 

Finally, - and thanks for bearing with a long post - today (Poetry Friday) is the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht ("The Night of Broken Glass," termed by the Nazis). On this horrific night, anti-Semitic sentiment and laws erupted into actual violence and brutality, and the Holocaust followed.  [On Thursday, Joshua Johnson on public radio's 1A hosted an important  show about preserving Holocaust survivor stories.]

 

We cannot forget.  It's barely fathomable that the lives of those beautiful souls at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh were taken not even two weeks ago. Only 20 years from Armistice Day to Kristallnacht. And 80 years from then to now.  History is important.  

 

Please visit the ever-thoughtful Michelle at Today's Little Ditty for this week's Roundup. 

19 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Longfellow's Maiden and Weathercock

Wood engraving by Boyd Hanna in The Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Heritage Press, 1943.
 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I know hearts are heavy this week for those affected by another brutal hurricane.  I found it a little crazy that with family members and like-family friends from Central Florida up through Charlotte, we were all experiencing some effects of this storm within hours of each other.  Beaufort was once again very fortunate.  We did hunker down for a tornado warning near midnight on Wednesday night, and our power went out for a few hours not long thereafter, but other than lots of wind, my corner of town at least was all right. (Schools and government offices were closed Thursday.)

 

I stood in front of the television in disbelief Thursday morning when The Weather Channel showed the first drone images of Mexico Beach, a place my folks have enjoyed visiting in the past.  A few battered structures remained, but mostly - empty slabs where countless houses and businesses used to be.  Nothing.  Left. Prayers and more prayers for all who are dealing with so many kinds of losses.

 

(Some PF regulars might know that our own Jan Godown Annino is from Tallahassee; I hope she won't mind my sharing that I reached her by text Thursday morning, and they are okay.)

 

I wish I had the right words for comfort today, but instead, the diversion of a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, which was published in 1880 in "Youth's Companion."  The view over the sea is a much more pleasant one in this ballad-like poem.  

 

 

MAIDEN AND WEATHERCOCK

 

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

               MAIDEN

 

O Weathercock on the village spire,

With your golden feathers all on fire,

Tell me, what can you see from your perch

Above there over the tower of the church?

 

 

             WEATHERCOCK

 

I can see the roofs and the streets below,

And the people moving to and fro,

And beyond, without either roof or street,

The great salt sea, and the fisherman's fleet.

 

I can see a ship come sailing in 

Beyond the headlands and harbor of Lynn,

And a young man standing on the deck

With a silken kerchief round his neck.

 

Now he is pressing it to his lips,

And now he is kissing his finger-tips,

And now he is lifting and waving his hand,

And blowing the kissses toward the land.

 

 

               MAIDEN

 

Ah, that is the ship from over the sea,

That is bringing my lover back to me,

Bringing my lover so fond and true,

Who does not change with the wind like you.

 

 

              WEATHERCOCK

 

If I change with all the winds that blow,

It is only because they made me so,

And people would think it wondrous strange,

If I, a Weathercock, should not change.

 

O pretty Maiden, so fine and fair,

With your dreamy eyes and your golden hair,

When you and your lover meet to-day,

You will thank me for looking some other way.

 

 

I found this poem in The Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, part of THE AMERICAN POETS series edited by Louis Untermeyer for The Heritage Press (1943). I'm smitten with the wood engraving illustrations throughout, by 20th Century artist and illustrator Boyd Hanna. 

 

For so many in our country (including Puerto Rico) and around the world reeling from recent natural disasters, prayers for healing and for the eventual changes of direction that time brings.

 

Our gracious host for the Roundup this week is the ever-amazing Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids.  Enjoy all the offerings!

19 Comments
Post a comment